Randall Luthi is President of the National Ocean Industries Association. He recently wrote about the need for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. There follows an excerpt from his article:
“The Arctic has long held the potential for abundant energy development, which is supported by most Alaskan natives. However, like much of the Arctic, the Alaska OCS remains largely unexplored. Economic conditions and politics have literally put oil and natural gas explorationin the US Arctic on ice. As demonstrated by the recent cruise through the Northwest Passage, thawing ice is allowing for a new source of economic and social development through the tourism industry. Likewise, the economics of the energy industry are expected to improve, providing incentive for oil and natural gas explorers to prove the energy potential of the Arctic.
The question facing the energy industry is whether U.S. politics will allow for an energy thaw. It is important to point out that Arctic oil and natural gas exploration is not a nascent industry. In the Alaska Arctic, onshore development has occurred for decades, supplying a safe and consistent source of home-grown oil to consumers in the lower 48 states via the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Canada and Norway have been receiving oil and natural gas from offshore projects operating in the far north, and Russia has upped longstanding activity above the Arctic Circle by recently opening the Arctic gate marine terminal linking Russia’s Arctic-sourced crude oil to European and Asian markets.
There is no reason why similar progress isn’t possible within the U.S. Arctic.”