• 4 minutes Is The Three Gorges Dam on the Brink of Collapse?
  • 8 minutes The Coal Industry May Never Recover From The Pandemic
  • 11 minutes China Raids Bank and Investor Accounts
  • 22 hours During March, April, May the states with the highest infections/deaths were NY, NJ, Ma. . . . . Today (June) the three have the best numbers. How ? Herd immunity ?
  • 2 mins Putin Paid Militants to Kill US Troops
  • 15 hours Putin Forever: Russians Given Money As Vote That Could Extend Putin's Rule Draws To A Close
  • 23 hours Biden admits he has been tested for Cognitive Decline several times. Didn't show any proof of test results.
  • 1 hour Victor Davis Hansen on Biden's mental acuity " . . unfit to serve". 1 out of 5 Democrats admit it. How many Dem's believe it but will not admit it?
  • 18 hours Apology Accepted!
  • 14 hours Tesla Model 3 police cars pay for themselves faster than expected, says police chief
  • 57 mins Is OilPrice a cover for Green Propganda
  • 11 mins In a Nutshell...
  • 15 hours The Political Genius of Donald Trump
  • 22 hours Why Oil could hit $100
  • 2 days Biden came out of his basement today (Thursday) and said , "we have 120 Million deaths from Covid 19.
  • 2 days U.S. natural gas at major disadvantage in Europe and China.
  • 20 hours Per most popular Indian websites it was Indian troops not Chinese troops breach of LAC that caused the clashes. If you know any Indian media that claim to the contrary please provide the link

Breaking News:

Japan Bets Big On Mozambique LNG

Big Oil’s Nightmare Is Coming True

Big Oil’s Nightmare Is Coming True

Royal Dutch Shell has followed…

Oil Capped By COVID Fears

Oil Capped By COVID Fears

Oil prices rose this week…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Premium Content

The Arctic Resource Race Is On And It Will Be Peaceful

Talk about the legendary natural resources wealth of the Arctic has been going on for some years now, as the polar cap continues to melt at unprecedented rates. What makes those concerned with the wellbeing of the planet cringe makes others rub their hands in anticipation of future profits. The Arctic race is on.

There are eight countries with legal territorial claims in the Arctic: Russia, the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark (for Greenland), Iceland, and Finland. Five of these have been building up their military presence in the region in the last few years, as an analysis from Army Technology notes, but there is no indication that they are preparing for conflict.

This might sound markedly strange given the anti-Russian media rhetoric in the West. Yet, according to several defense experts from Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, this rhetoric is just “media hype” and “fear-mongering”. The reason why the Russian threat is exaggerated is simple enough: Moscow has no interest whatsoever in antagonizing the West – not in the Arctic, not anywhere else.

As one of the experts quoted by Army Technology, Marcus Matthias Keupp, says, Russia has too much to lose if it decides, for some unfathomable reason, to flex its muscles to its Arctic neighbors. Keupp, by the way, is the head of the department of Defence Management at the Military Academy of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Yet there is one thing that sets Russia apart, especially from the U.S.: it has made the Arctic an economic development priority. This, of course, makes sense given the size of its Arctic territories, and it also makes sense given its traditional reliance on natural resources for state revenues. Besides, it makes sense in light of climate change, which will create new trade waterways through the North. Related: Keystone XL Still Faces Obstacles Even With Trump’s Approval

To date, Russia has 40 icebreakers and 16 deepwater ports in its Arctic waters. And icebreakers are the difference between winning and losing in this region, or, as Foreign Policy quotes Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, “The highways of the Arctic are icebreakers. Russia has superhighways, and we have dirt roads with potholes.”

In addition to its presence there, Russia has dedicated an academic program in its Academy of Sciences to the Arctic. And it has been treating the Arctic as a priority area for decades. While some might see this as muscle-flexing, other would probably take the more logical stance that there is just so much Arctic territory in Russia that it has to be put into some use.

The new Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, has called the Arctic “strategic”, pledging to develop an “integrated strategy” for it. Yet so far, the Arctic has not been strategic, it seems, and this means it will take a while, and quite a while, to develop and implement any strategy that comes from the DoD. As far as icebreakers go, for instance, the U.S. has one operational vessel for the Arctic. It also has a second one, but it’s broken. Meanwhile, Russia has 11 in construction, to add to its existing 40. Related: Robots Over Roughnecks: Next Drilling Boom Might Not Add Many Jobs

Can the U.S. curb Russia’s activity in the Arctic? Hardly, since it is staying within its borders, despite an attempt a few years ago to extend these at its European neighbors’ expense. Can it catch up? This seems to be the only useful option. Must it? Maybe. The U.S. has a tiny portion of the Arctic compared to Russia, but it might want to be better placed there, just in case. Because the Arctic nations are not the only ones eyeing the energy, metals, and trade corridor potential of the Arctic.

China has been quietly building a close relationship with Iceland. This year, a Chinese-funded research facility on the island will open doors, marking another milestone in bilateral relations, after China helped Iceland get back on its feet after the 2008 financial crisis.

China is also in the sights of President Trump who seems to consider it a greater threat to the U.S. than Russia. This is one more reason to choose cooperation instead of confrontation in the Arctic. The region is shaping up to be the last big mineral resources pie on Earth, and everyone will want a piece of it. The bigger the fork each stakeholder makes for themselves, the bigger the piece they will be able to eat. In this case, the easier and safer way to make a bigger fork is by joining forces with others hungry for the pie.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment
  • Bob on January 30 2017 said:
    Top rated article on an important and largely neglected subject.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News