Arctic energy is not new: BP brought Alaska’s giant Prudhoe Bay oilfield on stream in 1977; Norway’s Statoil started commercial gas production at Snøhvit, the first offshore development in the Barents Sea, in 2007; and on July 2, Gazprom announced that test drilling from the Prirazlomnoye platform, Russia’s first offshore venture in the Arctic, was about to start.
Companies with stakes in these ventures include ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips in Alaska and Petoro, Total, GDF-Suez and RWE at Snøhvit. Prirazlomnoye is being developed by a joint venture between Gazprom and Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft.
They are there because there are hydrocarbons resources that can be exploited, and others will follow. The question is, how will they do this and what kind of a legacy will they leave when they are done?