Russia and petroleum: Two colliding challenges for Arctic governance / Columns / The Foreigner

Russia and petroleum: Two colliding challenges for Arctic governance. The price of oil continues sliding. Talk is rife about an East-West Cold War. Russian gas exports are a political bargaining chip. The implications are not just for Norway, but also stretch across the Arctic Ocean. Greenland's independence and mining enter the equation, as does Alaskan oil. The parties involved seek knowledge about changing environmental and social conditions around the Arctic. We do not fully understand how sea ice could affect ships, rigs, and ports. Shipping route projections and tourist safety are full of uncertainties. China, India, and Singapore, amongst others, express strong Arctic interests and are active in Arctic governance venues.

oilgas, energy, russia, norway, paywall



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Russia and petroleum: Two colliding challenges for Arctic governance

Published on Saturday, 6th December, 2014 at 07:08 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last Updated on 6th December 2014 at 07:31.

The price of oil continues sliding. Talk is rife about an East-West Cold War. Russian gas exports are a political bargaining chip.

A bridge and window to the West
A bridge and window to the West
Photo: Ilan Kelman


The implications are not just for Norway, but also stretch across the Arctic Ocean. Greenland's independence and mining enter the equation, as does Alaskan oil. The parties involved seek knowledge about changing environmental and social conditions around the Arctic.

We do not fully understand how sea ice could affect ships, rigs, and ports. Shipping route projections and tourist safety are full of uncertainties. China, India, and Singapore, amongst others, express strong Arctic interests and are active in Arctic governance venues.

Where are Arctic peoples in these discussions? Indigenous voices and views of non-indigenous Arctic residents are often crowded out by buzzwords including resources, security, geopolitics, resilience, and access.

It should be the opposite. For instance, my work on Many Strong Voices with Arctic indigenous peoples has taught me plenty about the region, its communities, its peoples, their interests, and their abilities.

Meanwhile, the Research Council of Norway generously funds a research project which I lead on corporate social responsibility for Arctic petroleum. We interview Arctic residents about their views and perceptions, comparing Hammerfest, Norway with three locations in northwest Russia: Komi Republic, Murmansk, and Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Arctic peoples are concerned about the social and environmental implications of resource extraction, Arctic transportation, and other developments. That is not immediately to block these activities, although the option remains.

It is to ensure that communities have control over decisions, gain benefits from the choices, and fully understand and accept the costs. Differing views within the communities need to be reconciled as well.

Such messages are rarely given prominence and are often not even acknowledged. This absence, perhaps, is the fundamental concern in governing the Arctic.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London.



Published on Saturday, 6th December, 2014 at 07:08 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last updated on 6th December 2014 at 07:31.

This post has the following tags: oilgas, energy, russia, norway, paywall.





  
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