Norway oil drilling expands to Svalbard

Norway is expanding oil drilling operations farther north into the Arctic. Environmentalists are worried about the fragile Arctic ecosystem, and campaigners fret relations with Russia will deteriorate as Norway pushes the restrictions of the Svalbard treaty.

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The Svalbard archipelago is northwest of Norway, east of Greenland and south of the North Pole. In addition to the 2,667 people today who lived in Svalbard as of 2016, polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes make their household in the remote and rugged terrain. Svalbard is a single of the northernmost inhabited parts of the planet.

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“Irrespective of variations in the ecosystem, the Arctic is a pretty severe put,” said Ilan Kelman, a professor at UCL and Agder College in Norway.  “A lot can go incorrect, and when something goes wrong … it can cause substantial hurt for a prolonged time.”

Numerous environmental teams, including WWF, Greenpeace and Pals of the Earth Norway, sent an open up letter to the Norwegian authorities pointing out its extended track file of disregarding the wisdom of environmentalists to not continue a many years-long northward enlargement of oil exploration. “Given that we never but have the technological innovation to cleanse up spills in an Arctic ecosystem, it seriously doesn’t make any perception to keep on with offshore extraction there,” Kelman claimed of the Svalbard shift.

Two of the explanations that this oil expansion is so tough are the Svalbard treaty and the definition of the “ice edge.” Initially referred to as the Spitsbergen Treaty, eight international locations signed it in Paris in 1920 to try out to control administrative and economic pursuits in an region that has been as opposed to the Wild West. Now, 46 countries are included. The treaty states that Norway governs Svalbard legally and administratively, but that citizens from all treaty signatory nations can obtain Svalbard for economic functions. No country, including Norway, is permitted to completely station its military on the archipelago. Some experts are anxious that Norway’s petroleum advancement in Svalbard will cause stress with other nations around the world, specifically Russia.

Then there is the ice edge, that place where open seas fulfill ice. This area is vital mainly because it is exactly where marine mammals, fish and birds feed on plankton. Because it is so ecologically delicate, the ice edge has been a no-fly zone for petroleum routines. But Norway has regularly nudged its definition of the ice edge north to accommodate oil extraction. This latest shift to open pieces of Svalbard to petroleum firms is the farthest press north but.

By using The Guardian, Higher North News and The Maritime Government

Picture by means of Einar Storsul

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