Melting Arctic Benefits Perpetrators, the Oil Industry

As Arctic ice recedes under global warming with the promise of ice free summers appearing within decades, oil companies such as Shell, spurred by better technology and high oil prices, are pursuing oil drilling up there, reports the Economist. Oil companies are reluctant to admit that climate change plays a part in their northward shift. They do not want to be seen to be profiting from the environmental damage to which their activities have contributed. But between July and October this year, Shell hopes to drill three exploratory wells in its Burger prospect, 100km offshore of Wainwright, Alaska. That could breathe new life into Alaska’s flagging, mostly onshore, oil industry. Meanwhile the world’s most accessible oil fields, in the Middle East and elsewhere, are being depleted. They are also increasingly controlled by state-backed firms. This has left the big independent oil companies scratching around for alternatives that play to their technological prowess and their ability to secure long-term investment. The Arctic requires plenty of both. But oil exploitation is a slow business.  At best, Shell would begin producing offshore Alaskan oil in 10-15 years. And by then, who knows?

Source

Hidden treasure: A hunt for Arctic resources. High commodity prices, receding ice and better technology are spurring a hunt for Arctic resources. But oil companies are reluctant to admit that climate change plays a part in their northward shift. They do not want to be seen to be profiting from the environmental damage to which their activities have contributed. Economist

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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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