Understanding Risks Associated with Offshore Hydrocarbon Development
E. Tedsen et al. (eds.), Arctic Marine Governance, 2014
Posted: 1 Jul 2016
Date Written: June 29, 2016
Arctic sea ice is rapidly reducing due to climatic changes occurring in the region, allowing for easier access to vast amounts of undiscovered oil and gas resources. In recent years, growing interest in exploitation of Arctic hydrocarbon resources has led to an increase in exploration activity. Nevertheless, because of the Arctic’s harsh conditions, activities remain costly and are linked to serious environmental risks for vulnerable and unique Arctic ecosystems. Clean-up of potential oil spills would be highly complicated, if not impossible, and routine operational activities connected to hydrocarbon development, such as drilling or increased shipping traffic, have adverse consequences on marine flora and fauna. This chapter examines past, current, and potential future hydrocarbon activities in the Arctic, associated environmental impacts from accidents as well as normal operations, and possible cooperation between the European Union (EU) and United States (US) in mitigating the adverse environmental consequences of oil and gas development. Possibilities for transatlantic cooperation regarding hydrocarbon development in the Arctic are considered, including the use of legal and institutional frameworks to which both the EU and US have commitments.
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