The International Energy Agency predicts world energy needs in coming decades will still include significant contributions from oil and gas. The Arctic represents a highly prospective region where technology enables future exploration and production. This paper examines select challenges the oil and gas industry (Industry) faces in the Arctic and considers collaboration and cooperative efforts that will continue to mitigate these issues.
Aspects of Arctic oil and gas exploration that present the greatest opportunities for cooperation include baseline studies, engineering, and oil spill prevention, detection, and response. Sharing physical and technical resources can augment limited Arctic infrastructure, ship availability, and potentially widen restrictive operating windows. Collaborations from baseline science monitoring, ice modeling, and oil spill response consortiums improve efficiency while decreasing costs for industry, consumers, and governmental agencies.
The United States of America (U.S.) assumes Arctic Council Chairmanship from 2015 to 2017 and is expected to continue fostering regulatory collaboration. The U.S. issued its approach to Arctic policy in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, in which it cited international cooperation as crucial to advancing collective interests, protecting Arctic environments, promoting prosperity, and enhancing regional security.
Many Arctic-interest groups aim to outline research and technology pursuits that support exploration and development in the Arctic. Navigating numerous stakeholder interests and incentives presents challenges. However, it is essential and the responsible action in order to advance resource access and development.
Oil producing companies have partnered in offshore oil exploration since the 1930s - collaborating on vessels and other support materials. Early overall collaboration and competence-sharing are some of the techniques that can optimize efficiency for all.
Offshore exploration and production in the Arctic is moving forward in a stepwise approach. Years of research and experience are preparing the world for continued prudent development of resources in the Arctic region. Operational limitations make collaboration and knowledge-sharing vital to the economics of offshore exploration.