Abstract

Increasing seasonal ice free Arctic waters and market demand to expand hydrocarbon extraction to previously undeveloped Arctic offshore regions has accelerated an Arctic priority in national strategies and international forums. In this context, hydrocarbon development in the Kara Sea region lends itself to interdisciplinary study. The proposed paper will be based on current specific research on state and corporate compliance to international environmental standards in Arctic offshore hydrocarbon development, to contribute and support a larger project, an Interdisciplinary PhD dissertation currently in progress with the University of Alaska Fairbanks titled Russian Capacity to Develop Offshore Oil Reserves in the Kara Sea: Geopolitical and Regional Implications. The proposed paper will be based on a focused analysis for the Kara Sea region through 2030. It is hoped such a study will have contributing value for industry, policy makers as well as the broader international community with an interest in transparent international environmental standards for oil and gas development in the Arctic littoral. It is further proposed that the sheer size of the Kara Sea hydrocarbon reserves, particularly of oil, and the effort and resources required to bring them into production, warrants this assessment as to the nature of the governance regime which is, or may evolve, and contribute to secure, stable and environmentally sound Arctic development.

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