South Korea pilots Northern Sea Route

credit: Stena Bulk

Yesterday the Stena Polaris, a 183m long P-MAX tanker with ice class 1A arrived in Yeosu, South Korea, with a cargo of 44,000 tons of naphtha. The journey started in Ust Luga, Russia in the Gulf of Finland mid September.

Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk sees "the voyage with the Stena Polaris as the beginning of a long and far-­reaching collaboration with Hyundai Glovis".

Also in the news:
foreignpolicy.com: High North or High Tension?

Shell's Arctic Drill Ship Kulluk ran aground

First of all the drill ship's 18 members crew has already been rescued by Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley on Sunday. Now, the Kulluk with some 150,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of lube oil on board sits grounded on a rocky bottom about 500 feet from the shore close to Kodiak Island.

This is just another incident of Shell's never ending series of safety failures since this $4.5 billion operation was started. One might think luckily there was no ice around and the Coast Guard's ...

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Please tell Shell

"Oil on Greenland would be a disaster," Total CEO Chrisophe de Margerie said. "A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company."

Although he is not completely opposed to Arctic exploitation as gas leaks "were easier to shut down and clean". But what are the chances considering Shell reportedly invested already $4.5 billion and Cairn Energy at least $1 billion?

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Just avoid Oil Rigs, Icebergs and make Money

More background on this game at theoilrace.com, on the first full year operating Russian Arctic oil rig Prirazlomnaya with oil tanker shuttle service at platformlondon.org and here (Russian).

Updates

offshore-technology.com: Prirazlomnoye Oilfield - Russian Federation

Manually Drawn Antidepressants, Episode 2

Seen on the walls of New York.

Via: Reno Rambler

24 Years with Montreal Protocol - Why there are two Ozone Holes?

There is not much ozone in the atmosphere, all molecules at eye level would build a layer of a few millimeters. There is also not much usable atmosphere around our planet, oxygen is down to half at 5km and beyond 30km you’ll see stars on pure black above a blue planet.

Technically the atmosphere ends with exosphere phasing out at 100km. SpaceShipOne pilot Brian Binnie returned in good shape from 112km, but consult your doc before planning an altitude of 6,000m without life support.

Most triatomic oxygen exists in the stratosphere between 15 and 25 kilometers and filters out DNA damaging solar UV-B radiation. It is estimated that 1% less ozone increases some forms of non-melanoma skin cancer by 3%.

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Russian Oil and Gas field in Barents and Kara Sea

credit: RIANOVOSTI

Oil and gas fields infographic just blogged for future reference. Also Wikipedia has an entry covering the East-Prinovozemelsky field, Kara sea. And the Barents Sea resources, shared between Norway and Russia as seen by the UNEP's 'The Environment Times'.

Cairn Energy Oil Spill Plan for Greenland, Episode 1

This is page 43 of the Cairn Energy's Oil Spill Prevention and Contingency Plan for Greenland for drilling season 2011. It is an interesting document. On page one you are referred to page 13 in the event of an oil spill. On this page you learn you have to consult the Response Decision Flowchart. And the latter tells you that given the weather is not favorable only options left are monitoring and evaluation. But how do you keep an eye on an oil spill in a long and dark Arctic night?

Looks tint spilled, doesn't it?

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More Consolidation: NSR, Shell, Seattle, Kulluk

China-Briefing.com has more details on the first 2011 NSR Transit and states: Sovcomflot, a state-owned shipping line, has been earmarked to provide year-round Arctic shipping routes at the request of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

TheArcticSounder.com namely Alex DeMarban interviewed Brian Miller, Shell’s project development manager for Alaska, on a next generation oil platform ready for round year production in Beaufort Sea. Miller is convinced the rig will withstand ice drift and the vehemence of multi-year ice several meters thick. The one-legged 100,000 ton structure will cost some billion dollars.

Tracy Record writing for the WestSeattleBlog ...

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Northern Sea Route open for Transit

According to nuclear.ru the Northern Passage has been successfully navigated first time this year. Two russian nuclear icebreakers supported Panamax class tanker Perseverance sailing through the sea ice to China.

The 73,000-ton Perseverance (width:32m/length:228m) loaded with gas condensate headed off from Murmansk on June 29. With an average speed of 11 knots in the Arctic Ocean the total time to reach China was reduced by about 50% compared to the traditional route through Suez canal.

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USGS - Estimates of Undiscovered Oil and Gas North of the Arctic Circle

In 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in all areas north of the Arctic Circle.

Using a geology-based probabilistic methodology, the USGS estimated the occurrence of undiscovered oil and gas in 33 geologic provinces thought to be prospective for petroleum.

The sum of the mean estimates for each province indicates that 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids may remain to be found in the Arctic, of which approximately 84 percent is expected to occur ...

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Oil Spill Sensitivity Atlas and Responds Plans

Cairn Energy formally launched its summer oil drilling program off the west coast of Greenland May 24, as the environmental group Greenpeace stepped up protests of the oil company’s Arctic activity.

Scottish-based Cairn Energy PLC claims it can safely explore for oil off Greenland's western coast. Last August the company announced that drilling in the area had detected the presence of either oil or gas beneath the seafloor.

Now Greenpeace launched a campaign and forces CEO Bill Gammell to publish their Greenland oil spill response plan. Concerned citizens are invited to send a personal email right from the ...

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) Floor Speech: America is an Arctic Nation

Comprehensive and condensed speech (10min), 90% about opportunities, 5% environment, 5% risks.

Script: Last week I was honored to participate in a historic trip...

Arctic Oil Rush continued...

Just a few days ago the Arctic Council met in Nuuk, Greenland. What appeared as an innocent ‘talk-shop’ may have pulled the trigger. The presence of Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar made clear the US have an eye on the Arctic resources.

An important outcome of the Council was the agreement on SAR missions between the relevant countries, United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Now investments in an area of 13 million square miles of ocean around North Pole are less risky and therefore less expensive.

USGS estimated some 90 billion barrels of ...

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Shell's new Drilling Plan

Shell Offshore Inc. submitted a revised Exploration Plan last week. The company plans to double its efforts off Alaska's Arctic shore over the next two years. AP cites Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith saying the company will seek permission to drill four wells in the Beaufort Sea and six in the Chukchi Sea using two drilling ships.

The ArcticSounder published a comment by Earl Natchiq Kingik asking Shell to proof their ability to clean up a spill in the Arctic's extreme and challenging conditions.

Opinion: Before Arctic drilling, Shell must prove they can clean spill ...

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Nuclear Icebreaker Taimyr leaks into Arctic Ocean

According to the Barents Observer the Russian ice breaker Taimyr is now accompanied by the vessel Rossia and targets the Murmansk on Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

Rosatomflot, the operator of the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet categorizes the deviation as level zero on the International Nuclear Event Scale indicating no safety significance.

On Shipwx it is possible to track the icebreaker's route out of the Kara Sea.