Two hydrogen-powered passenger ferries ordered by Norwegian transport company Torghatten Nord are set for Lloyd’s Register (LR) class following Approval in Principle (AiP) awarded in August 2022. Designed by The Norwegian Ship Design Company to operate in the challenging waters of the Vestfjordstrekninga fjord in the Arctic Circle, the two... Read more →

ConocoPhillips will move forward with development of the Willow project in Alaska. This Final Investment Decision approves the project and funds construction needed to reach first oil. The decision follows the Department of the Interior March 2023 Record of Decision and recent positive court orders, including this week’s Ninth Circuit... Read more →

DoI cancels oil and gas leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; proposes new protections in National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska

In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Arctic Refuge), US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has authorized the cancellation of the remaining seven oil and gas leases issued by the previous administration in the Coastal Plain. The leases were suspended in June 2021 following the issuance of Secretary’s Order (S.O.)... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Trucks development and test engineers tested the operational readiness of the eActros LongHaul and eActros 300 as a tractor unit under extreme conditions at temperatures down to minus 25 degrees Celsius in Rovaniemi, in northern Finland. (In Rovaniemi, the Arctic Circle (66°33′45.9″ N) runs through Santa Claus Village, 8km... Read more →

US Department of the Interior has approved a scaled-back version of ConocoPhillips’ Willow Master Development Plan in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). (Earlier post.) The Record of Decision (ROD) reduces the size of the project by denying two of the original five drill sites proposed by ConocoPhillips, which is seeking... Read more →

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska State Office recently released the final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for ConocoPhillips’s proposed Willow Master Development Plan in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). The document addresses the flaws identified by the US District Court for the District of Alaska in its... Read more →

The Pole to Pole expedition team and Nissan unveiled an adventure-ready version of the new Ariya electric SUV (earlier post), which will undertake a 10-month, 27,000km trip from the magnetic North Pole to the South Pole. (Earlier post.) British adventurers Chris and Julie Ramsey will cross 14 countries, through Canada,... Read more →

Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper; Rosatom State Corporation; and the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center (FESRC, part of Rosneft Oil Company) have signed an agreement of intent to design and build a dual-fuel diesel-LNG icebreaker... Read more →

Microplastics in Arctic snow suggest widespread air pollution

Wind plays a role in carrying microplastics (MPs, shreds of plastic less than five millimeters long) to both the snowy streets of European cities and remote areas of the Arctic Ocean. The high concentrations found in snow samples from disparate regions suggest microplastics—which may contain varnish, rubber, or chemicals used... Read more →

A new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates heavy fuel oil (HFO) use, HFO carriage, the use and carriage of other fuels, black carbon (BC) emissions, and emissions of other air and climate pollutants for the year 2015, with projections to 2020 and 2025. According to... Read more →

by Viktor Katona for On a global level, 2015 and 2016 marked the lowest level of new conventional oil discoveries since 1952. In 2016, only 3.7 billion barrels of conventional oil were discovered, roughly 45 days of global crude consumption or 0.2 percent of global proved reserves. Globally, exploratory... Read more →

US offshore oil and gas leasing plan for 2017-2022 focuses on Gulf of Mexico, excludes Arctic

US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Hopper released the final plan to guide future energy development for the Nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for 2017-2022. The Proposed Final Program offers 11 potential lease sales in four planning areas—10 sales in... Read more →

Department of Interior issues final regulations for drilling on Arctic OCS

The US Department of the Interior has issued final regulations governing future exploratory drilling activities on the US Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The Arctic-specific regulations focus solely on OCS exploratory drilling operations from floating vessels within the US Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. These rules require oil companies to ensure... Read more →

Researchers from the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) at the Arctic University of Norway have discovered a growing Arctic abiotic methane- and methane hydrate–charged sediment drift on oceanic crust in the deep Fram Strait of the Arctic Ocean. This is a previously undescribed process of hydrate... Read more →

Comparison of the potential reduction in emissions with the application of lower sulfur 0.5% and 0.1% fuel for Arctic vessels assuming a low-growth scenario. Source: ICCT. Click to enlarge. At the current allowable levels of sulfur in marine bunker fuels, pollutant emissions (particulates, black carbon, NOx, SOx, and CO2) from... Read more →

On Sunday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its revised proposed comprehensive conservation plan and final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 19.64-million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The FWS’ preferred alternative recommends an additional 12.28 million acres—including the Coastal Plain—for designation as “Wilderness”. (“Wilderness” (with a capital... Read more →

Overview of the outer limits of the expanded Canadian continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean. Click to enlarge. On 6 December, Canada filed a submission to define the outer limits of its expanded continental shelf area in the Atlantic Ocean with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.... Read more →

US DOE to award up to $20M for research on methane hydrates

The US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory has issued a solicitation (DE-FOA-0000891) for up to $20 million in funding for projects that focus on the following three technical topic areas: (1) characterization of methane hydrate deposits; (2) response of methane hydrate reservoirs to induced environmental change; and... Read more →

Map of Arctic Alaska Province (outlined in black) showing boundaries of the platform and fold-and-thrust belt assessment units in red. Source: USGS. Click to enlarge. The US Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province holds mean estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of nearly 30 billion barrels of oil, about... Read more →

Concept of the Alaska Southcentral LNG Project. Click to enlarge. The partners in the Alaska Pipeline Project (APP)—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, and TransCanada—submitted a letter to Alaska Governor Sean Parnell describing their companies’ progress in advancing an Alaska liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project. (Earlier post.) Given the massive size of... Read more →

Methane hydrate can form in Arctic and marine environments. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 14 new research projects that will be a part of an expanding portfolio of projects designed to increase the understanding of methane hydrates’ potential as a future energy... Read more →

Map of preferred alternative. Download original pdf. Click to enlarge. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined a proposed plan that will allow for additional access for oil and gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) while also protecting wildlife and coastal resources. The plan will be... Read more →

Interpolated surfaces showing the change in mean annual temperature across Alaska for three different time series: 1949−2009, 1949−1976, and 1977−2009. Red colors represent a temperature increase, blue indicates a decrease, and beige indicates no change. Credit: ACS, Stevenson et al. Click to enlarge. Demonstrating that the use of different time... Read more →

Conceptual rendering of CO2 – CH4 exchange methodology for the production of natural gas from hydrates. Source: NETL. Click to enlarge. US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the completion of a successful test of technology in the North Slope of Alaska that was able to safely extract a steady flow... Read more →

DARPA seeks innovative technologies for assured Arctic awareness; environmentally responsible advanced distributed unmanned sensor system

Due to anticipated retreating Arctic ice in the coming decades, shipping is expected to increase during the summer months as will effort to exploit natural resources along the resource-rich continental shelf. This growth in activity will increase the strategic significance of the region, and will drive a need to ensure... Read more →

NOAA seeks comment on draft environmental impact statement on Arctic oil and gas exploration; incidental “take” authorizations

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is seeking public comment on a newly released draft environmental impact statement describing how offshore oil and gas activities in the US Beaufort and Chukchi seas could affect marine mammals and the Alaska Native communities that depend on them for subsistence. The document also... Read more →

The East-Prinovozemelsky blocks on the Russian Arctic shelf have estimated resources of 35.8 billion barrels of oil and 10.3 tcm of gas, according to Rosneft. Inset at upper right shows location of blocks relative to larger Arctic. Click to enlarge. Rosneft and ExxonMobil have executed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement under... Read more →

Statoil says the Aldous and Avaldsnes combined potential may represent the largest NCS discovery since the mid 1980s. Click to enlarge. Statoil has confirmed communication between the Aldous and Avaldsnes oil discoveries in the North Sea. (Earlier post.) In combination these discoveries may represent an oil structure of between 500... Read more →