Arcticportal News
Russia opens second largest gas field
Energy News
Friday, 26 October 2012 09:16

Pipeline (Photo: GettyImages) Pipeline (Photo: GettyImages)Russia opened its latest gas production site this week. President Vladimir Putin formally opened the commercial production at the Bovanenkovo field on the Yamal peninsula in extreme northwestern Siberia.

The discovery of the site by the Soviets in the early 1970s created excitement and frustration in equal measure. The excitement was because of the huge potential, the frustration because of the severe ice conditions, permafrost and remoteness.

Now the site has opened up and Russian energy giant Gazprom estimates to be 4.9 trillion cubic meters (177 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas in the field - making it one of the world's three largest deposits.

"The field will produce 115 billion cubic meters (4,060 billion cubic feet) of gas and that will go up to nearly 140 billion," Putin told the field's workers by live video.

"This is nearly the equivalent of how much we export to Europe," Putin stressed.

The giant field is second in size in Russia only to Gazprom's Urengoi deposit to the south. It is a part of an Arctic project that Gazprom has been pinning its hopes on as older wells run dry.


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Gas in the Arctic

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Antarctica airstrip melting fast
Climate Change News
Thursday, 25 October 2012 15:11

Australian plane in Antarctica (Photo: ABC) Australian plane in Antarctica (Photo: ABC)The Australian runway on Antarctica is melting fast. The melting is causing problems in transport and there will be no flights from Australia to January.

Australia will seek help from China with transport if needed.

It is possible that a new airstrip of gravel will be made in the future. 

The $46 million Antarctic air link opened four years ago with the expectation of 20 flights to the Wilkins runway near Casey Station each season.

Antarctic flights in 2009-2010 were supposed to be 20 for each season, but were 14 in the earlier season and only two in the latter. In 2011-2012 season all four planned flights were achieved and now for 2012-2013 there are six flights scheduled.

Australian Antarctic Division chief Tony Fleming says that safety issues are very strict. "Once it gets to above minus five degrees in the ice, then there are safety parameters which mean we can't [land] aircraft on that. Some way down in the ice, if it becomes above that temperature, we can't guarantee the structural integrity of the surface."

The Wilkins runway is used to get vital equipment, medical supplies, people and food to the continent.



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Video about the story

Bear and her cub came to close
Climate Change News
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 08:28

The bear and her cub (Photo: KNR) The bear and her cub (Photo: KNR)A polar bear and a cub were shot in the town of Kangaatsiaq in Greenland yesterday. The pair had been circling the town for a few days.

The people had tried to drive them away but when they came close to the town they saw no other option but to shoot.

The mother had been swimming in the fjord with her cub on the back, like this video shows.

After the pair went in the town shots were fired in the air but unfortunately that did not scare them away.

"We had to shoot them both. The cub would not have survived without his mother," Peter Løvstrøm from the department of hunting and fishing in Greenland said.

"The meat will be distributed to the community's institutions but the skin and everything else will be analyzed by the government," Løvstrøm said. Those means are typical for such circumstances.






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The Arctic Portlet

Video of the bears swimming


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One of the biggest energy deals ever
Energy News
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 08:52

Oil tanker (Photo: GettyImages) Oil tanker (Photo: GettyImages)One of the biggest oil deals in history was concluded this week. The Russian state-run company Rosneft is now on par with energy giant Exxon Mobil.

The deal concluded this week is worth around $55 billion USD.

The deal works like this: Rosneft will buy TNK-BP which is Russia's third largest oil company (after Rosneft and Lukoil ). Half of that is BP share. BP (British Petroleum) will in exchange get $12.3 billion of cash and 18.5 percent of Rosneft, raising its holding to 19.75 percent.

BP will have two seats in the board of the new mega giant which Reuters says will be pumping more oil and gas than Exxon Mobil after the deal.

Rosneft will also buy the other half of TNK-BP for $28 billion in cash from A.A.R., the consortium formed by the Russian oligarchs to manage their half of the venture.

"This is a very good signal for the Russian market. It is a good, large deal. I would like to thank you for this work," Russian President Vladimir Putin told powerful chief executive Igor Sechin at a meeting on Monday.

"This deal is in line with the Russian government's strategy of reversing the privatization of oil and gas resources that took place in the 1990s," said Andrey Golubov, a finance lecturer at Cass Business School in London.

BP is now betting that a relationship with the Russian state company will be a better route to the deals it wants to drill offshore in the Arctic Ocean. Exxon Mobil, Eni of Italy and Statoil of Norway already have such deals.

The acquisition, subject to Russian government approvals, will give Rosneft extra output and cash flow to finance exploration of Russia's vast reserves to replace ageing and depleting fields.

The only oil and gas acquisitions that have been bigger than today's deal are Exxon's merger with Mobil Corp., an all- stock deal valued at $80 billion when it was announced in 1998, and BP's $56 billion purchase of Amoco Corp. the same year.






NY Times


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The Energy Portlet


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Polar bear extinction in 20 years?
Climate Change News
Monday, 22 October 2012 15:22

Polar bears in the Arctic (Photo: Thinkstock) Polar bears in the Arctic (Photo: Thinkstock)Arctic animals are under severe threat because of warming climate and there might be no polar bears in the Russian wild in 20-25 years. This is the predicion of leading polar bear specialist, Nikita Ovsyannikov, deputy director of Russia's polar bear reserve on Wrangel Island in the Chukchi Sea to the northwest of Alaska.

The Edmonton Journal reports that  calculations are predicting that only around 1700 polar bears live around the Chukchi Sea, and that it had dropped from 4000 the last three decades.

„It is worse for Russian polar bears than the bears in Canada or Greenland because the pack ice is retreating much faster in our waters," said Ovsyannikov. „The best habitat is quickly disappearing. It is extreme. What we are seeing right now is very late freezing. Our polar bear population is obviously declining. It used to be that new ice was thick enough for them to walk on in late October. It now will happen much later."

With no drifting pack ice near the shore to hunt from, Russia's polar bears have faced a stark choice. They either must go far out to sea on pack ice that has been drifting away from the coast in the late spring, or forage for food as best they can on Russia's few Arctic islands or along the coast.

However, venturing far from land presents special problems for female bears who traditionally build their hibernation and birthing dens on land.

"Making a den on drifting ice is much more difficult," Ovsyannikov said. "One reason is that there is a greater chance that other bears will disturb them there. "But some females are den-ning on the drifting ice because the ice is freezing up again so late in the fall that they cannot get back to land. We have evidence of this."

There will be no polar bears anywhere in the wild within 20 to 25 years, Ovsyannikov predicted.

However, it is wrong to think that their "extermination" is only happening because of global warming, he said. Another key factor is that warmer air and sea temperatures have forced polar bears to spend more time on land where "too many of them were being shot and poached."

Other species under threat include seals, walrus, Arctic fox and snowy owls, he said.

The big cargo ships transiting to Asia using the Northeast Passage pose another potential danger. Any spill will cause great harm across the north because oil dissolves slowly in cold water and is notoriously difficult to clean up if it comes into contact with drifting ice or ice that is attached to land.

"It is inevitable that economic development will continue," Ovsyannikov said. "So it is up to us to take as many precautions as possible because a shipping accident in the Arctic would be an absolute disaster for the entire ecosystem."



The Edmonton Journal


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The Arctic Portlet


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