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Archive for Arctic

Business New Europe: Sanctions aim at Russia’s Arctic push

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Joe Parson in Moscow – August 21, 2014) US and EU sanctions are threatening to derail a monster exploration and production project in the Russian Arctic between state-owned Rosneft and US oil major ExxonMobil. The threat is not that Washington will pressure US companies to pull out of Russian

Exxon’s $900 Billion Arctic Prize at Risk After Ukraine

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – April 29, 2014) Exxon Mobil (XOM) Corp.’s dream of drilling in the Russian Arctic may risk running aground on the politics of Ukraine. The company plans to start drilling in August in the Arctic’s remote Kara Sea — the centerpiece of Exxon’s global alliance with Russian state-controlled OAO

RIA Novosti: Russia Has Sufficient Data to Prove Arctic Claim – Scientist

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia, April 29 (RIA Novosti) – In the past decade, Russian scientists have gathered enough scientific evidence to substantiate the country’s territorial claim for hydrocarbon-rich areas of the Arctic shelf, a leading Russian scientist said Tuesday. Valery Vernikovsky of the Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics said a UN commission rejected Russia’s previous

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Who controls the Arctic?

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrey Gubin, special to RBTH – April 23, 2014) Andrey Gubin is the head of research programs at the Asia-Pacific Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. International competition for control over Arctic resources is only a matter of time, says researcher Andrey Gubin. The Arctic has

Changes in Regulations Could Help Break the Offshore Ice

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – February 3, 2014) State-controlled oil giant Rosneft had a very good year. That is what company chief executive Igor Sechin told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday at a meeting to review Russia’s largest oil producer, whose capitalization grew by 18 percent to $73 billion at the

Russian Navy to Expand Air Patrols in Arctic

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) ­ Combat aircraft from Russia’s Northern Fleet will extend the ranges of their patrol flights over the Arctic in 2014 using a network of revamped Soviet-era airfields, the fleet’s spokesman said Friday. “In 2014, the naval aviation of the Northern Fleet will significantly expand the geography of Arctic patrol flights,

Russia to study Arctic oil, gas prospects in shelf border extension

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW. Dec 31 (Interfax) – Russia is looking to study oil and gas prospects as it prepares to extend its Arctic shelf borders. Subsurface resources agency Rosnedra has already announced – on the state procurement portal – a tender for the selection of an outfit to evaluate the prospects of oil and gas fields on

Seven Greenpeace Activists Allowed to Leave Russia

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – December 26, 2013) As the last Greenpeace activist detained in the Arctic 30 protest   received notification Thursday that he was cleared of all charges under a recently passed amnesty, several other international activists who’d already been granted amnesty received permission to leave Russia. The news marks the

Interfax: Russia won’t give away North Pole – Chilingarov

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

TULA. Dec 12 (Interfax) – Russia will not give the North Pole to countries, which have claimed their rights to it, polar explorer, Federation Council member Artur Chilingarov said. “We will not give the North Pole to anyone. Canada’s claims for the North Pole are nothing but an ambition,” he said at a Tula meeting

Russian military returns to the Arctic

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, RBTH – December 12, 2013) Russia intends to deploy a military force on its northern coast to engage in the fight for control over promising oil and gas reserves in the Arctic Ocean. Russia will send a military force to be set up in the Artic

NEWSLINK: Rushing for the Arctic’s Riches

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

[Rushing for the Arctic's Riches - New York Times - Michael T. Klare - December 8, 2013 - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/opinion/sunday/rushing-for-the-arctics-riches.html] Michael Klare and the New York Times address Russia’s temptation to exploit Arctic energy resources: While many existing oil and gas reserves in other parts of the world are facing steep decline, the Arctic is thought

Interfax: Margelov: Russia needs sufficient potential to defend its geopolitical interests in Arctic

Mikhail Margelov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 6 (Interfax) – Russia must be prepared to confront international rivalry in the Arctic, which is a priority of its geopolitical agenda, Federation Council International Affairs Committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov told Interfax. “This is a topical agenda considering the expected effects of global warming on the Arctic zone. It is necessary to maintain

40 Years On, Polar Bears and Threats to Their Habitat are Multiplying

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – December 5, 2013) Environment ministers and delegations from the five countries bordering the Arctic met in Moscow on Wednesday to voice continuing support for polar bear conservation and outline steps for saving the species, which activists and officials say is increasingly vulnerable to the effects of global

RIA Novosti: Polar Bear Population Could Drop Two-Thirds by 2050 – Minister

Polar Bear on Ice, Looking Back at Camera

MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) ­ The number of polar bears in the Arctic could drop by two-thirds by 2050 because of poaching, pollution and global warming, Russia’s natural resources and ecology minister said Wednesday. Speaking at the International Forum on the Conservation of Polar Bears, Sergei Donskoi said that active industrial development in the

Interfax: Militarization of Arctic region is overdramatized – Russian experts

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

MOSCOW. Nov 28 (Interfax) – Experts of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) see no reason to speak about the militarization or a threat of military confrontation in the Arctic region. “This is taken as part of usual measures of each state to ensure its interests, including the military element,” RIAC president Igor Ivanov told

RIA Novosti: Last Imprisoned Greenpeace Activist Granted Bail in Russia

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ The last of the Greenpeace activists arrested in Russia over a September protest at an Arctic oil rig was granted bail Thursday by a St. Petersburg court. The court set bail for Colin Russell from Australia at 2 million rubles ($60,000), the same condition set for the other 29

RIA Novosti: Arctic Made Priority for Russian Navy in 2014

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian naval forces are set to make the Arctic a priority region, boosting combat training and scouting lesser-known areas of the icy territory in 2014, a navy spokesman said Monday. The Northern Fleet will conduct sailing and diving expeditions in the Arctic and develop a series of ice-class patrol

Interfax: Greenpeace has noble goals but wrong methods – Putin

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – The actions of the Greenpeace environmentalists who tried to climb an oil platform in the Arctic posed a threat to the lives of the people who are working there, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “When they climb the platform and create an emergency situation, there could be not just one

RIA Novosti: Detained Greenpeace Activists Deserve Clemency – Putin

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Greenpeace activists detained in Russia over a protest at an Arctic oil rig should be granted clemency, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday as 10 of them were released and many others granted bail. When asked to comment on their case at a meeting with Russian writers, publishers,

Putin Adviser Sees Political Will to End Greenpeace Dispute

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 19, 2013) Russia is showing “political will” to end a two-month-long dispute over the prosecution of Greenpeace activists after they began to be set free on bail, President Vladimir Putin’s human rights adviser said. “It’s a good sign,” Mikhail Fedotov said in a phone interview today from

Interfax: Lawyers say custody conditions of Arctic Sunrise activists acceptable

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 14 (Interfax) – Lawyers have met with several Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise activists in a St. Petersburg detention facility, a Greenpeace spokesman told Interfax on Thursday. “The lawyers met with five environmentalists, including Russian citizen Andrei Allakhverdov, who had been placed into the Kresty [detention facility]. The detention facility is basically all right,

Interfax: Kremlin rights council asks Investigative Committee head to change pre-trial restrictions of Greenpeace activists

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The Russian president’s Human Rights Council has asked Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin to consider the possible release of the Arctic Sunrise crewmembers who were detained for staging a protest off Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea from custody. “The Russian president’s Council for the Development of Civil

RIA Novosti: Russia Unprepared for War in Arctic

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

MOSCOW, November 5 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia is unprepared for a war in the Arctic, a government report says. The country, which has the longest Arctic border, would be unable to quickly respond to an attack in the area, the Regional Development Ministry said in an assessment of risks to economic interests in the Far

Arctic resources: Any competitors in sight for Russia?

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Karnaukh, special to RBTH – November 1, 2013) Many countries would like to tap into the Arctic’s vast hydrocarbon resources, but Russia is the only nation so far to have risked hefty investments in the region. Experts wonder whether Moscow will be successful in selling Arctic oil

Greenpeace Rebuffs Talk of Arctic Protest Conspiracy

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 1, 2013) In early October, Rosneft head Igor Sechin made a brief, enigmatic comment suggesting that there was more than meets the eye behind a Greenpeace protest Sept. 18 against a Gazprom oil rig in the Arctic, an action that resulted in the arrest of 30

Moscow Times: Russians See Greenpeace Protest as a Foreign Plot

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 29, 2013) State pollster VTsIOM released survey results Monday regarding last month’s Greenpeace protest in the Arctic that indicate more than a third of Russians believe the protest was a foreign plot and more than two-thirds disagree with the group’s message of needing to protect the

Russia Softens Charge in Greenpeace Case

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Goryachev and Christopher Brennan – October 24, 2013) The Investigative Committee said it had dropped the piracy charges against 30 people who were on board Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship, replacing them with accusations of hooliganism. If convicted of the new charges, the 28 activists and two journalists who were

Gazprom’s Bric-a-Brac Rig Called a Risk to the Arctic

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 24, 2013) Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, the advance guard of the coming expansion of Russia’s state energy corporations into the Arctic, is a cobbled together bric-a-brac of second-hand parts, some of which date to 1984, environmentalists said. The very presence of the Prirazlomnaya rig in the icy

Most Russians Believe Arctic Should Remain Neutral – Poll

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 19, 2013) More than two thirds of Russians believe that Arctic territories should not belong to any state, a poll carried out by the Kremlin-backed pollster Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) said on Friday. Only 17 percent of respondents said the Arctic territories should be divided between states, while 69 percent

Pressure Growing on Putin to Free Greenpeace Activists

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 18, 2013) International pressure on Russia over the arrest of Greenpeace activists mounted Thursday as 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners urged President Vladimir Putin to drop the piracy charges against them. The 11 laureates made such an appeal in a letter sent to the Russian president,

Human rights council will ask prosecutor general to drop piracy charge against Arctic Sunrise crew – Fedotov

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 10, 2013) The piracy charges, based on which the crew of the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise was arrested, are ungrounded and should be reconsidered, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential human rights council, said. “I hope this decision will be reconsidered. In any case, we will turn to the prosecutor

Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Think Greenpeace Arrests Appropriate

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 3, 2013) The majority of Russians approve of the piracy charges against 28 Greenpeace activists who were detained in late September after trying to climb an Gazprom-owned oil drilling rig in the Arctic to protest its environmental impact. A survey from state pollster VTsIOM published Wednesday showed that 60

Russia Pushes for Further Arctic Exploitation

Polar Bear on Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – September 26, 2013) It is impossible to stop Arctic exploitation, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, adding that Russia guaranteed that there would be no environmental catastrophe, since the most innovative technologies would be used. SALEKHARD, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District ­ The time for an industrial breakthrough has come

Interfax: Ombudsman Lukin hopes Greenpeace activists detained in Russia will not be too severely punished

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. September 24, 2013) Russia’s human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said he expected that the Russian authorities would not punish the activists of the Greenpeace environmental organization too severely for their protest rally against oil extraction in the Pechora Sea. “I hope that our authorities will realize that they nevertheless had admirable and

Russia building its military presence in the Arctic

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitry Litovkin, special to RBTH  - September 17, 2013) Petr Veliky, the most powerful ship in the Russian navy, recently crossed the Northern Sea Route for the first time. Although the event was virtually unnoticed amid the escalating military conflict in Syria, pundits believe its implications are also

Interfax: Russia is restoring its military presence in Arctic, not expanding it – Foreign Ministry

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Interfax – MURMANSK, September 19, 2013) The strengthening of any country’s military forces in the Artic is in most cases not targeted against any of the neighbors, Russian Foreign Ministry charge d’affaires Anton Vasilyev said. “If we don’t take into account strategic nuclear weapons, which are an element of a different, global strategic dimension, it’s

Russia Reopens Military Base to Control Key Part of Arctic – Putin

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, September 16, 2013) ­ Russia will reopen a military base in the New Siberian Islands, an Arctic archipelago north of Yakutia, to secure control of the strategic region, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday. “Our forces left the area in 1993, and in the meantime it has become a very important

Moscow expects UN to start examining Russian bid for extending seabed borders

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 23, 2013) Russia expects that its application to the United Nations to approve its bid for extending the boundary of its part of the Sea of Okhotsk section of the continental shelf will receive consideration in the international organization early next year, said Deputy Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Denis

Bering Strait Shipping Route to Slash Voyage Times Between Asia and Europe

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 22, 2013) Traders that have been looking for the shortest route from Asia to Europe since the days of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot may have finally found it, though the way may be colder than expected and the cargo will probably consist of less silk and spices. Yong

‘How Many Icebreakers Does Russia Need?’

Polar Bear on Ice, Looking Back at Camera

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 13, 2013) As the first Chinese merchant ship begins an unescorted voyage from Dalian to Rotterdam on the Northern Sea Route, Russian military officials are pondering how many icebreakers Russia in fact needs to ensure that Moscow is able to continue its dominance of that increasingly

‘Melting of Permafrost is Converting Much of Russia into a Swamp’

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 7, 2013) Two-thirds of the territory of the Russian Federation is covered by permafrost, and the melting of this ice is rapidly “converting a large part of Russia into a swamp,” according to studies by British and Russian scholars reported and discussed this week in Moscow’s

Collateral Damage from Three New Russian Laws

Russian Duma Building

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 6, 2013) Three new pieces of Russian legislation appear likely to inflict serious collateral damage on that country, eliminating a defender of Lake Baikal against industrial pollution, inflicting new suffering on the already hard-pressed numerically small peoples of the north, and destroying some of the last

Borders of Russian Arctic zone may be determined in 2013 – minister

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Interfax – June 28, 2013) Russian Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev believes the borders of the Russian Arctic zone may be specified and determined before the end of 2013. “The borders of the Arctic zone can be specified by an appropriate law. Such a law is now being drawn up. It can be included in

Rogozin: active development of Arctic shelf to cause conflict of interest, sabotage

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 28, 2013) Acts of sabotage against Russian facilities are possible in the Arctic shelf development rivalry, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said. He presented several scenarios of external threats to Russia at a conference dedicated to an election article of President Vladimir Putin. “Active development of the Arctic shelf will unavoidably

Arctic Activity Heating Up

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – May 30, 2013) When the virtual hammer came down on the country’s Arctic real estate last week, state-controlled Gazprom managed to get the largest slice. Gazprom vied with Rosneft and was awarded seven disputed areas in the Kara sea shelf and could split the eighth area, in

Evacuation of Personnel from Russian Polar Stations to Begin in Mid-June – Minister

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 27, 2013) The personnel of the SP-40 weather station, based on a split ice floe in the Arctic Ocean will be evacuated in mid-June, Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi told reporters on Monday. An icebreaker will depart from Murmansk to collect the personnel and equipment. “If the mission goes as planned

U.S. Investors Underline Importance of Trade Ties Over Political Rifts

Oil Worker file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – April 25, 2013) ExxonMobil was a highlight of an investment conference in Moscow on Wednesday, attended by U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, where speakers discussed the prospects of U.S. business in Russia. Organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, the event sought to emphasize trade and

Moscow Lacks Funds to Maintain Arctic Monopoly as China Gains a New Opening in that Region

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 16, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-moscow-lacks-funds-to.html)  Despite Vladimir Putin’s promises to ensure that Russia kept its monopoly in the Arctic as the melting of the ice cap made that region more important, Moscow has cut back plans to build nine new icebreakers, a key to that control, because

Federation Council members criticize idea to make Northern Sea Route international

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) – Russian presidential envoy for international cooperation in the Arctic and Federation Council member Artur Chilingarov has objected to making the Northern Sea Route an international route, and Federation Council member Yury Neyolov has proposed expanding Russia’s Arctic area by adding a number of regions to it. “Options for providing different

Russia Lets China Into Arctic Rush as Energy Giants Embrace

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Rakteem Katakey & Will Kennedy – March 25, 2013) Russia’s decision to give China a share of prized Arctic exploration licenses as part of a “breakthrough” deal signals how the world’s largest oil and gas producer and the biggest energy consumer are redrawing the global energy map. Under agreements signed during

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