Arctic Region Opens Up to Energy Business
While global warming is doing damage to most of our environment, the melting Arctic ice is making it easier to exploit valuable minerals and fuels. About 25 % of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves are thought to be under the Arctic ice. Rising temperatures are making shipping lanes in the area easier to navigate.
But who can claim the raw materials that lie locked in the Arctic’s ice. Basically, neighboring states each hold a sector that corresponds to the length of the Arctic coastline. However, other nations are laying claim to the Arctic as well. According to international law, a country’s territory reaches 200 nautical miles from its coastline.
The race for oil and natural gas has started among energy companies. They are prepared to move in to the Arctic and start drilling, but only if it is economically feasible.
This may not be the case for all companies. Shale oil, found in giant amounts in the Great Plains region of the US has made energy cheaper. Recently, a Russian energy project in the Arctic was halted because it was proven that production costs would be too high. On the other side there is an environmental issue to consider. Oil companies do not want to be blamed for exploiting a highly sensitive region. An American commission has confirmed that drilling in the arctic is very risky and dangerous for nature.
Climatologists predict that, in a few decades, large areas of the Arctic should be free of ice during the summer months. Transportation between the Arctic and Europe or North America would be much faster.
Currently, some energy companies are already transporting goods between Europe and Asia via the Russian Arctic coast.
In any case, getting away from Middle East energy dependence is one of the main reasons for investing in the Arctic.
The Arctic region could hold over 400 billion barrels of oil
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- according to = as said by …
- basically = in general, normally
- blame = to be the reason for a problem
- business = company
- catch the attention = if you start observing something that was not very interesting before
- claim = say that something is true
- climatologist = a person who observes weather and climate
- confirm = to say officially
- consider = think about
- correspond = match
- currently = right now
- decade = a period of ten years
- dependence = the situation of needing something so that you can survive
- drill = to dig a hole deep into the ground in order to bring up oil or gas
- economically feasible = if you can make profit from something
- environment = nature, the world around us
- exploit = to develop and use minerals and raw materials
- exploration = discovery, study
- fuel = substance, like coal or oil that is used to produce heat or energy
- giant = very big
- halt = stop
- however = but
- issue = topic
- law = the rules of a country
- lay claim to = to say that something belongs to you
- length = how long something is
- lock = trap
- melt = to become liquid or watery
- nautical mile = unit for measuring the distance at sea = about 1 800 meters
- navigate = travel through
- predict = to say that something will happen, before it happens
- prove = to show that something is true or exists
- raw material = things that exist in nature and that people can use , like oil, trees water etc..
- recently = shortly, a short time ago
- reserves = here: raw materials that have been discovered but are not yet used
- sensitive = something that you have to deal with very carefully
- shale oil = oil that is trapped in smooth soft rock, which breaks into many flat pieces
- shipping lanes = routes for ships
- territory = land
- valuable = important
- via = by way of
- while = as