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August 29, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess.



Norway Oil DevelopmentPoll: Arctic Will Reverse Norwegian Oil Production Decline. A poll conducted at the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference in Stavanger has revealed that industry professionals see Arctic exploration as a viable solution to Norway's declining oil production rates. 74% of participants said that the development of sizeable reserves in Arctic waters offshore Norway could reverse the country's diminishing North Sea production rates by 2030. By contrast, only 26% of participants felt Norway would not be able to abate the decline through Arctic exploration. The Industry Snapshot Poll was conducted on the first day of ONS by global independent technical advisor, GL Noble Denton. Senior professionals from across the industry also took part in the poll online. Norway's Oil Ministry announced in June that the country plans to dramatically increase activity within its Arctic waters. Its licensing round for frontier areas will include 86 blocks, of which 72 are in the Arctic Barents Sea and just 14 are in the Norwegian Sea. A separate licensing round for mature areas will include 48 blocks or partial blocks, with 33 in the Barents Sea, 12 in the Norwegian Sea and just two in the North Sea. This represents a major shift for the sector as in last year's round only four licenses were issued for the Arctic Barents Sea but 34 in the North Sea. MarineLink 


Oil Drilling in AlaskaNetherlands: Arctic Energy Rules Needed: New international rules are needed to protect the Arctic environment as it is targeted for more energy exploration, the Netherlands said this week. New international rules are needed to protect the arctic environment as it is targeted for more energy exploration, the Netherlands said this week. Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation Maxime Verhagen told an international energy conference in Norway Monday the huge oil and gas reserves of the arctic hold much potential for supplying the world's growing energy needs. But, he warned, the effect on the region's vulnerable environment of exploiting those resources is "difficult to predict at this time," and therefore, "binding international rules to prevent environmental damage" are needed. UPI 


Arctic Risk Management Study Released by DNV & FNI: A new study about crucial risk management issues relating to Arctic operations is released by DNV and the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI). The study concludes that, in order to safely develop Arctic resources, there is a need for improved technology, oil spill preparedness and close cooperation between the authorities, industry and society. DNV's CEO, Dr Henrik O. Madsen, presented the study entitled 'Energy and the environment - Arctic resource development, risks and responsible management' at the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) Conference in Stavanger.

Some of the study's conclusions:

  • Interest in the Arctic is growing rapidly, but there is no race for resources. The Arctic is more characterised by cooperation than by conflict. It is in the interests of all major stakeholders that the rules of the game are followed, meaning adherence to the law of the sea and cooperation through international bodies such as the Arctic Council.
  • Some areas of the Arctic are still disputed, but the prospects for a solution without conflict are good. The bulk of Arctic resources are clearly and unambiguously under the national jurisdictions of the five Arctic coastal states: Russia, Norway, the USA, Canada and Denmark/Greenland.
  • The Arctic represents an energy and climate paradox. The effects of climate change are dramatic in the Arctic and are showing the world the importance of bringing global warming under control. At the same time, it is climate change that, by melting sea ice, is opening up the Arctic for further petroleum exploration.
  • Some of the greatest challenges to the development of energy resources in the more demanding regions of the Arctic are the risks of accidents, loss of life and potentially uncontrollable oil spills, especially in ice-covered areas. Thus, not only is effort needed to prevent accidents from happening, but systems also need to be developed to handle emergencies.
  • The management of these challenges requires more knowledge, better technology and good, close and transparent cooperation between the authorities, industry and society.  MarineLink   

begichSen. Begich to Introduce Legislation Creating Arctic Port Authority. The state of Alaska is working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to locate a site for a deep water port. Alaska Senator Mark Begich says he plans to introduce legislation creating an Arctic Port Authority to facilitate Alaska's future international shipping needs. Begich made the announcement over the weekend at Arctic Imperative Summit. Senator Mark Begich is a strong supporter of greater icebreaking capacity in Alaska's Arctic waters. Begich's remarks during his talk at the Arctic Imperative Summit pointed to the cooperation of Nome area Sitnasuak Native Corporation and Vitus Marine in bringing life- giving fuel to Nome last winter. Alaska Public Radio 


Arctic Sea Ice Just Hit a Record Low. Here's Why It Matters. The Arctic Ocean's vast, frozen expanse of ice is rapidly vanishing. On Monday, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic had reached its lowest level since satellite measurements began, breaking the previous record in 2007. That's particularly striking because the summer melting season still has about two more weeks to go. It's clear that Arctic sea ice is now shriveling more quickly each year. And scientists say the melt has been driven by both global warming and other pollutants that humans have put into the atmosphere. So why does the disappearing sea ice actually matter? Partly it's a sign of how quickly we're heating the planet. Yet the vanishing sea ice can also have its own side effects, from warming up the Arctic further to unlocking once-frozen areas of the north for oil and gas exploration. Below is a rundown of what we know about Arctic sea ice and why it's worth watching. Washington Post

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal action was taken on Arctic legislation.

Future Events    


10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, September 5-7, 2012. The 10th Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region will take place in Akureyri, Iceland 5-7 September 2012. The conference will be attended by members of parliament from the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament, Arctic indigenous peoples and a variety of observers. The main items on the agenda are:


1.  Arctic Governance and the Arctic Council

2.  Economic opportunities in the Arctic

3.  Human Development in the Arctic: Interplay of Research, Authorities and Residents


The Conference will adopt a statement directed to the Arctic Council, the governments in the Arctic Region and the institutions of the European Union.  


Fifth Polar Law Symposium 2012, September 6-8, 2012. The theme for the symposium is quite open. It covers a wide variety of topics relating to the Arctic and the Antarctic. These include:

  • Human rights issues, such as autonomy and self-government vs. self-determination, the rights of indigenous peoples to land and natural resources and cultural rights and cultural heritage, indigenous traditional knowledge.  
  • Local and national governance issues.
  • Environmental law, climate change, security and environment implications of climate change, protected areas and species.
  • Regulatory, governance and management agreements and arrangements for marine environments, marine mammals, fisheries conservation and other biological/mineral/oil resources.
  • Law of the sea, the retreating sea ice, continental shelf claims.
  • Territorial claims and border disputes on both land and at sea.
  • Peace and security, dispute settlement.
  • Jurisdictional and other issues re the exploration, exploitation and shipping of oil, gas and minerals, bioprospecting.
  • Trade law, potential shipping lines through the north-west and north-east passages, maritime law and transportation law.
  • The roles and actual involvement of international organizations in the Polar regions, such as the Arctic Council, the European Union, the International Whaling Commission, the

For more information, please see the Arctic Center


inuitconferencelogoArctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World; October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature.  


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of  responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.



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