Category Archives: Arctic

This region of the planet, north of the Arctic Circle, includes the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Baffin Island, other smaller northern islands, and the far northern parts of Europe, Russia (Siberia), Alaska and Canada.

VIDEO: Shell Starts Drilling in Chukchi Sea, Alaska

 

VIDEO: Shell Starts Drilling in Chukchi Sea, Alaska| Offshore Energy Today

Shell Alaska yesterday began drilling operations at its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, offshore Alaska. The Noble Discoverer drillship is being used for the operations.

“The occasion is historic. It’s the first time a drill bit has touched the sea floor in the U.S. Chukchi Sea in more than two decades. Today marks the culmination of Shell’s six-year effort to explore for potentially significant oil and gas reserves, which are believed to lie under Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf. In the days to come, drilling will continue in the Chukchi Sea, and we will prepare for drilling to commence in the Beaufort Sea,” said the company in a press release.

VIDEO: Shell Starts Drilling in Chukchi Sea, Alaska| Offshore Energy Today.

 

Statoil stepping up in the Arctic

Statoil is stepping up its Arctic activities and will drill nine wells during a non-stop 2013 Norwegian Barents exploration campaign. The company plans to meet development challenges here by tripling its Arctic technology research budget.

 

Statoil’s exploration experience in the Barents is already extensive. Of the 94 exploration wells drilled in the Norwegian Barents Sea so far, Statoil has been involved in 89. Nine more Statoil-operated wells are on their way here next year.

“After our Skrugard and Havis discoveries we still see attractive opportunities here,” says Statoil Exploration executive vice president Tim Dodson.

“This is a less challenging area, as the Norwegian Barents is one of the only Arctic areas with a year-round ice-free zone. We also see the possibility of utilising knowledge gained here for Arctic prospects elsewhere later on – just like we’ve already done with Snøhvit.”

Statoil will start drilling in Nunatak in the Skrugard area in December, and will drill and complete four wells in this area over a six-month period.

“These wells are time critical, as any additional resources will make the Skrugard development even more robust,” says Dodson.

The campaign will then continue with the drilling of two-three wells in the Hoop frontier exploration area further north in the Barents in the summer of 2013. These will be the northernmost wells ever drilled in Norway.

The 2013 Barents drilling campaign finishes in the most mature province of the Barents: the Hammerfest basin. Statoil will carry out growth exploration close to the existing Snøhvit and Goliat discoveries here.

Arctic drilling unit

In addition to increasing its drilling activities, Statoil has created a technology road map to prepare for activities in even harsher Arctic areas.
This includes:

  • A tripling of the current Arctic research budget – from NOK 80 million (in 2012) to NOK 250 million (in 2013)
  • A research cruise to north east Greenland in September
  • The maturing of an Arctic drill unit concept

Some of the technology highlights include work to allow for cost-effective 3D seismic for exploration prospect evaluation in ice, and the continuing development of a tailor-made, Arctic drill unit.

The work on the future drilling unit is based on Statoil’s experience with developing specialised category rigs for the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The unit will be one that can operate in a wide range of water depths across the Arctic, and will involve integrated operations in drifting ice.

Functions here are to include a management system to reduce ice impact, an optimised drilling package for faster drilling and increased rig availability, and solutions to ensure that the rig maintains its position. At present no robust solution for dynamic positioning dedicated for ice operation exists.

“When we see a technology need, we try to fill the gap ourselves. We have now directed our strategic focus towards developing technology for exploration and production in ice. A new dedicated unit has been established to solve these challenges,” says Statoil Technology, Projects and Drilling executive vice president Margareth Øvrum.

Capacity is key

“We’ve secured a five-year contract for Seadrill‘s West Hercules drilling rig. The rig is currently being prepared for Arctic conditions, and can be used to drill consecutively in the region for years to come,” Dodson says.

Broad exploration experience in the Barents Sea and available rig capacity make Statoil well prepared for the 22nd licence round on the NCS. Applications are due in early December, while the awarding of new licences will take place in spring 2013. Seventy-two blocks in the Barents will be on offer.

“The Skrugard discovery has reignited interest in the Barents. A number of major companies that had left the area will be looking to make their way back in. The competition will be fierce, but we’ve built up a strong track record here, and our application will reflect this,” Dodson says.

Source

Arctic: The Final Frontier

By Tim Dodoson, Executive vice president, Exploration, Statoil ONS201

Obama’s LOST Legacy: A New World Order

By Peter C Glover
Posted on Jun. 11, 2012

So who cares if Obama wants, as part of his legacy, to do what Ronald Reagan refused to do and sign up the United States to LOST, the UN’s Law of the Sea Treaty? Well if you are a small government, liberty-loving American, or citizen anywhere in the free world, you should. Here’s why.

US ratification of this Treaty would effectively grant governance of the bulk of the world’s surface area, its navigable waterways and access to what lies beneath – i.e. the world’s deepwater energy riches, not only fishing rights – to an unelected, anti-US, rabidly anti-Jewish, anti-free market, anti-capitalist body; where those in the democratic West can easily be outvoted.

Sound good to you?

For many Lost is a far-flung fictional fantasy about people facing a dangerous new world that poses unique threats. LOST also offers a new world of unique threats – but is an only too real, clear and present danger. It just so happens, when it comes to ambitions for an expanded Law of the Sea Treaty, that what is in the best interests of the United States is also in the best interest of the free world. No matter that the much of the rest of the world may have already attempted to sign away some of their sovereign rights under LOST. Quite simply, without US ratification (and its naval power), LOST remains a largely meaningless document. It is essential that it stays that way.

The problem with transnational governance of any kind is that on an administrative level it ties up sovereign claims in bureaucratic red tape for years. Meanwhile the world’s ‘less’ democratic leaders, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, will do as they always have, ignore them altogether. Russia has effectively already annexed around 60 percent of the Arctic. We’ve all seen the International Criminal Court of Justice in action. Those hauled up before it are far more likely to die of old age than receive justice. Imagine an international tribunal, with all manner of agendas, demanding governments and successful companies stump up billions of dollars in fines, compensations and ‘reparations’ to be ‘redistributed’ at the whim and collusion of some of the world’s leading dictators.

A little harsh? Then consider the UN’s track record.

LOST, the story so far

With bemusing short-sightedness, the key supporters of LOST or, to give it its alternative title, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), are pushing ratification both as a “tool to expand and confirm American sovereignty” and as a “peace tool for the US”. The treaty has been on the books since 1982 garnering wide Western support until Ronald Reagan grounded it perceiving it to be a threat to US sovereign interests. But President Obama, it seems, sees adoption as part of his legacy. In mid-May the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Atlantic Council held a forum at which US politicians, businesses and even national security leaders gave their support to the Treaty. Currently, Senator John Kerry is operating as the administration’s point man. Kerry is holding a series of public hearings to garner further support for the US to ratify LOST. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey (amazingly the US Navy thinks it’s a good idea) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – all avid proponents of adopting the Treaty – have all been called to give evidence.

The thinking runs that the US needs to secure its rights to the vast mineral resources on its extended continental shelf, not least in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The fact is, however, under existing international law and US policy, America already has access to these areas. And it’s hard to see anyone arguing the fact given US naval clout; which brings us full circle to what’s really going on here. And for those who love liberty and freedom, it turns out to be far more than controlling just US wealth and sovereign rights, as the rush for the Arctic’s subsea energy riches exemplifies.

The USGS estimates that the Arctic has around 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered energy resources, with 84 percent of that figure in deepwater. It is clearly a whole new energy frontier. While various claims to Arctic regions, as well as other energy-rich areas of the world, have been lodged with the UNCLOS, tensions between the Arctic’s littoral states, Russia, Canada, Norway Denmark (Greenland), the US and Iceland have been ratcheting up. with the larger states, particularly Russia, militarizing their claimed regions. The argument from the American left is that as the US has not ratified UNCLOS/LOST it does not have a seat at, what they view, as the UN’s prospective arbitration table. Indeed, the US has notably not submitted any claims to UNCLOS. And without US co-operation any decisions currently made by UNCLOS won’t count for much.

In 2010 I attended the inaugural meeting of The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue which has translated into an annual forum on all matters Arctic hosted by the Russian Geographical Society, sponsored by Putin himself. Those attending included members of another key international forum, the Arctic Council, made up of representatives of all the littoral Arctic states. Bottom line: international ‘jaw-jaw’ forum to deal with everything ‘Arctic’ already exist. So why is a new UN convention with global reach necessary? And who, precisely, thinks it’s a good idea? Let’s take the second issue first.

Usual suspects

Washington Times’ Frank Gaffney describes those pushing for the US to sign up to LOST as “usual suspects – the environmentalists, the one-worlder trans-nationalists, the Obama administration” and other “short-sighted special interests”. Yep, leftwing social engineers all. And US ratification of LOST would give the world’s greatest naval power no more than a single vote at a table chaired by the UN. De-superpowered at a bureaucratic stroke and giving the world’s leading talking shop to rake in a huge ‘tax and penalty’ bonanza from the vast deepwater energy resources on continental shelves.

America signing up to LOST would effectively require it to pay tax royalties to the UN’s International Seabed Authority. It would also become subject to UN powers of arbitration over disputed waters. At whim, the UN bureaucracy could level economic penalties for all sorts of alleged infractions. The UN would, at last, have found a potentially bottomless pit of independent income, mostly at US expense. Greenpeace and other lobbies would salivate at the prospect of suing the US and other countries to force them to sign up to that which has thus far eluded them: a legally-binding climate deal. All in all, ratification of LOST would provide the UN – the same organisation that has elected Iran to the Commission on Women’s Rights and recently invited Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe to become a UN Ambassador – with what the Washington Times’ Ed Fuelner rightly describes as “an economic wrecking ball”.

President Obama may or may not be out of office come November but he wants a lasting, globally-impacting, legacy. And ‘internationalist’ legacies don’t come much bigger than being instrumental in handing governance of seventy percent of the earth’s surface to an unelected Star Chamber, supported and dominated by one world nutjobs, enviro-freaks, international despots and self-aggrandizing bureaucrats.

That’s quite a legacy.

Source

China top military paper warns of armed confrontation over seas

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By Chris Buckley
BEIJING | Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:21am EDT

(Reuters) – China‘s top military newspaper warned the United States on Saturday that U.S.-Philippine military exercises have fanned risks of armed confrontation over the disputed South China Sea.

The commentary in China’s Liberation Army Daily falls short of a formal government statement, but marks the harshest high-level warning yet from Beijing about tensions with the Philippines over disputed seas where both countries have recently sent ships to assert their claims.

This week American and Filipino troops launched a fortnight of annual naval drills amid the stand-off between Beijing and Manila, who have accused each other of encroaching on sovereign seas near the Scarborough Shoal, west of a former U.S. navy base at Subic Bay.

The joint exercises are held in different seas around the Philippines; the leg that takes place in the South China Sea area starts on Monday.

“Anyone with clear eyes saw long ago that behind these drills is reflected a mentality that will lead the South China Sea issue down a fork in the road towards military confrontation and resolution through armed force,” said the commentary in the Chinese paper, which is the chief mouthpiece of the People’s Liberation Army.

“Through this kind of meddling and intervention, the United States will only stir up the entire South China Sea situation towards increasing chaos, and this will inevitably have a massive impact on regional peace and stability.”

Up to now, China has chided the Philippines over the dispute about the uninhabited shoal known in the Philippines as the Panatag Shoal and which China calls Huangyan, about 124 nautical miles off the main Philippine island of Luzon.

China has territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan in the South China Sea, which could be rich in oil and gas and is spanned by busy shipping lanes.

REGIONAL TENSIONS

Beijing has sought to resolve the disputes one-on-one but there is worry among its neighbors over what some see as growing Chinese assertiveness in staking claims over the seas and various islands, reefs and shoals.

In past patches of regional tension over disputed seas, hawkish Chinese military voices have also emerged, only to be later reined in by the government, and the same could be true this time.

Since late 2010, China has sought to cool tensions with the United States over regional disputes, trade and currency policies, human rights and other contentious issues. Especially with the ruling Chinese Party preoccupied with a leadership succession late in 2012, Beijing has stressed its hopes for steady relations throughout this year.

Nonetheless, experts have said that China remains wary of U.S. military intentions across the Asia-Pacific, especially in the wake of the Obama administration’s vows to “pivot” to the region, reinvigorating diplomatic and security ties with allies.

The Liberation Army Daily commentary echoed that wariness.

“The U.S. strategy of returning to the Asia-Pacific carries the implication of a shift in military focus, and there is no better strategic opening than China’s sovereignty disputes with the Philippines and other countries in the South China Sea,” said the newspaper.

“The United States’ intention of trying to draw more countries into stirring up the situation in the South China Sea is being brandished to the full,” it said.

(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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