Bridging the Arctic ‘perception gaps’

Russell McCulley
Monday, October 1, 2012

DNV and Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen Institute released a joint study during ONS calling for improved technology, better spill response preparation and greater co-operation among stakeholders in order to safely develop Arctic resources. The study, Energy and the environment – Arctic resource development, risks and responsible management, proposes a ‘performance-based system’ to manage risk in the Arctic along with greater communication between industry, governments and society ‘to bridge perception gaps’.

‘Important remaining challenges require strong focus on technology development,’ the report concludes. ‘Oil spills in ice and escape, evacuation and rescue of personnel are not managed sufficiently today, calling for a major effort to reduce the probability of incidents, to prevent accidents from happening, but also to develop systems that can handle emergencies.’

While noting that some barrier disputes remain, the DNV-FNI study maintains that the Arctic ‘is more characterised by co-operation than by conflict’, with most resources clearly under the jurisdictions of the Arctic coastal nations of Russia, Norway, the US, Canada and Denmark/Greenland. The study cites the delimitation agreement between Russia and Norway as a model for settling remaining territorial disputes in the region.

While noting that some barrier disputes remain, the DNV-FNI study maintains that the Arctic ‘is more characterised by co-operation than by conflict’, with most resources clearly under the jurisdictions of the Arctic coastal nations of Russia, Norway, the US, Canada and Denmark/Greenland. The study cites the delimitation agreement between Russia and Norway as a model for settling remaining territorial disputes in the region.

‘Interest in the Arctic is growing rapidly, fuelled by melting sea ice, promises of vast energy and mineral resources, prospects of shorter shipping routes and confidence that enhanced scientific knowledge and maturing governance processes will ensure Arctic peace and predictability,’ said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, chief operating officer of the class society’s Norway, Russia and Finland division.

‘However, this is a highly diverse region that defies simple, clear-cut definitions and generalisations. There are great variations within the Arctic and the public perceptions of promises and risks are polarised as never before: the Arctic as unspoilt nature with an acute need for protection from modern civilisation’s onslaught versus the great new energy frontier that can provide energy security, fortunes and job opportunities along Arctic coasts.’ OE

Categories: Russia Arctic Europe North America Technology

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