You are here: Home Knowledge Base Environment Exploring Energy Resources in the Arctic Ocean Solutions Rather than imposing particular technical solutions and standards, Arctic countries need to stipulate performance-based regulation and standards for drilling activities and ensure that operating companies bear the full costs of ...
Symposium 2012

Solution for Exploring Energy Resources in the Arctic Ocean

The Challenge

As temperatures rise with a changing climate, Arctic sea ice melts. As a consequence, the once ice-covered Arctic Ocean becomes increasingly accessible, with implications for various economic sectors. ...

As temperatures rise with a changing climate, Arctic sea ice melts. As a consequence, the once ice-covered Arctic Ocean becomes increasingly accessible, with implications for various economic sectors. In particular, the oil and gas resources below the seafloor have whetted the appetite of the littoral states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States—as well as outsiders, such as China and the European Union, which are developing or rethinking their Arctic strategies.

Rather than imposing particular technical solutions and standards, Arctic countries need to stipulate performance-based regulation and standards for drilling activities and ensure that operating companies bear the full costs of any incident.

Experience gained in other environments, including the North Sea, suggests that imposing specific technologies on offshore oil and gas producers is a very inflexible way to mitigate the risks of an oil spill. It also puts much of the responsibility for identifying the best possible technologies on the regulator. Performance-based regulation instead uses the ingenuity of the companies by encouraging an environment where there is competition to reduce the risks of an accident.

A central problem is to find suitable indicators that might encourage companies to invest in precautions instead of taking high risks and cleaning up after an accident has happened. At present, preparations taken by the energy exploration and production industry are not adequate. Moreover, many of the conventional contingency plans will not be feasible in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean.

The implementation of performance-based regulation would mean that the operators have to develop processes and management systems that can ensure that the objectives of the regulations are met. It also implies that the industry would be made fully responsible for its activities, if it is combined with various ways to apply sanctions by the authorities.

    Related Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Redo the "math" of offshore oil extraction in the Arctic (taking account of all costs, risks and benefits) through a comprehensive dialogue between all stakeholders.

    Redo the "math" of offshore oil extraction in the Arctic (taking account of all costs, risks and benefits) through a comprehensive dialogue between all stakeholders.

    Redo the "math" of offshore oil extraction in the Arctic (taking account of all costs, risks and benefits) through a comprehensive dialogue between all stakeholders.

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Limit drilling to the least risky regions, where there is no ice or little enough ice to make effective ice management possible.

    Limit drilling to the least risky regions, where there is no ice or little enough ice to make effective ice management possible.

    Limit drilling to the least risky regions, where there is no ice or little enough ice to make effective ice management possible.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Invest in research on secure extraction of conventional resources, on renewable energy technologies and on how to capture leaking methane.

    Invest in research on secure extraction of conventional resources, on renewable energy technologies and on how to capture leaking methane.

    Invest in research on secure extraction of conventional resources, on renewable energy technologies and on how to capture leaking methane.

    Polity, Academia, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    The members of the Arctic Council should continue their efforts towards reaching binding agreements and recognize the necessary balance between national and common interests by accepting new observers.

    The members of the Arctic Council should continue their efforts towards reaching binding agreements and recognize the necessary balance between national and common interests by accepting new observers.

    The members of the Arctic Council should continue their efforts towards reaching binding agreements and recognize the necessary balance between national and common interests by accepting new observers.

    Polity, Civil Society