Greenpeace Protests Arctic Drilling Offshore Russia

Greenpeace previously protested against Royal Dutch Shell plc’s plans to drill offshore Alaska and plans by other operators to drill offshore Greenland. In August 2012, Greenpeace activists raided a Gazprom drilling rig to protest the company’s Russian Arctic oil exploration plans.

Rosneft and ExxonMobil signed an agreement in August 2011 to jointly explore for hydrocarbons in the Kara and Black seas. Other companies such as Statoil ASA are exploring for Arctic hydrocarbon resources in the Barents Sea.

The oil and gas industry has previously explored for hydrocarbons in the Arctic, but has set Arctic drilling in its sights again in recent years, citing the need to tap additional oil and gas resources as the amount of untapped resources from more easily accessible areas dwindles. According to ExxonMobil’s website, the company has over 80 years of experience exploring the Arctic for oil and gas.

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated the Arctic to contain approximately 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of gas and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an Ernst & Young report on Arctic oil and gas.

Russia is estimated to hold over half of the total Arctic oil and gas resources and the largest amount of Arctic natural gas resources. Forty-three of the 61 large oil and gas fields discovered since the 1960s lie in Russia, the most of any nation with territory in the Arctic, according to Ernst & Young. The South Kara Sea offshore Assessment Unit is estimated to account for approximately 2.5 billion barrels oil, 622,222 billion cubic feet of gas and 19,479 million barrels of natural gas liquids, according to a 2010 USGS report.


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