A small city state nestled just shy of the equator, Singapore is not the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of the Arctic. Yet this ambitious city state, along with several East Asian neighbours, have steadily increased their diplomatic, scientific, and economic presence across the region. This has led many living in the Arctic to question both the intentions and implications of the involvement of these Asian states — in particular China.
The Trump administration is seeking to reopen offshore Arctic areas that were closed to oil and gas leasing by the Obama administration, as well as almost all federal waters off Alaska.
The Department of Interior's draft five-year national leasing plan, released on Thursday, proposes 19 Alaska lease sales — three in the Chukchi Sea, three in the Beaufort Sea, two in Cook Inlet and one each in 11 other regions, some of which have never had any lease sales.
The Obama administration in late 2016 took most federal Arctic waters off the table for oil and gas leasing. That administration placed the entire Chukchi Sea off-limits and all but a 2.8-million-acre strip of territory relatively close to shore in the Beaufort Sea.
The Bering Sea in 2016 was warmer than at any time in the 35-year record of satellite measurements of sea-surface temperatures, with extraordinary heat that went down to depths of 300 meters below the surface — a condition that almost certainly was the result of anthropogenic climate change, according to a report issued earlier this month by the American Meteorological Society.
Last week, the Trump Administration released its National Security Strategy, a 55-page document intended to lay out the administration's strategic interests, threats, and capabilities. Since the 1980's, U.S. administrations have typically released such a strategy about once per four-year term. In releasing its NSS in December, the Trump Administration became the first to do so in its first year in office.
Government scientists just dramatically increased their estimates for how much oil Alaska’s North Slope might hold
The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and nearby state- and Alaska Native-owned lands on the western part of Alaska's North Slope hold much more oil than previously believed, according to a new report issued Friday by the U.S. Geological Survey. The new USGS estimate, influenced by exploration successes in the region and produced in accordance with an order from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, put the mean estimate for technically recoverable oil in those onshore areas at 8.7 billion barrels.
Congress just opened part of ANWR to oil exploration. Don’t expect the fight over drilling there to be over soon, though.
After a fight that spanned four decades, the U.S. Congress has lifted a ban on drilling for oil and gas in a portion of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a massive tax overhaul. The legislation was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.
Yet while the change was hailed as significant by both backers and opponents of the measure, it could be years before oil produced in the refuge's coastal plain flows down the trans-Alaska pipeline, if it ever does. And in the meantime, the fight over drilling there is not likely to end—just to shift to different battlegrounds.
Months after dozens of walruses and thousands of birds died in mysterious circumstances in the Bering Sea, scientists have discovered a clue in the case: positive test results for algal toxins associated with warm waters. Four walruses and five seabirds were carrying saxitoxin, an algal biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. Whether the saxitoxin contributed to the deaths is unknown and unlikely to be determined, but it is a sign of changes in the Bering Sea, where waters are now warmer than they were in the past and where sea ice has been running at record lows for this time of year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
While ANWR fight grabs headlines, a different part of Alaska’s Arctic is seeing a burst in oil exploration
While debate is focused on a controversial budget measure to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a more accessible oil and gas frontier in Arctic Alaska is producing industry excitement and drawing significant investment. The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, or NPR-A, and adjoining state lands around the Colville River Delta on the western side of the North Slope have proved to be an attractive place for new oil development, thanks to recent and rich discoveries, accessibility of infrastructure.
Should an Alaska state agency be allowed to build a 211-mile road into the wilds of the Brooks Range to enable mine development in a remote part of the Arctic? That's the question a multiagency environmental review is asking of a controversial proposal to build the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project, which could open commercial opportunities for mining of copper and other mineral deposits in a now-roadless part of northwestern Alaska.