NORWAY OFFERS ARCTIC ENERGY LEASES, ENERGY RUSH LOOMING
Norway is offering new leases for fossil fuel exploration within its Arctic waters for the first time in over 20 years. The move infuses momentum into an energy rush poised to break out between the five countries claiming Arctic resource rights. The leases, mostly in the Barents Sea, have been offered to 43 energy companies, and production licenses could be awarded as early as 2016. The announcement follows Russia’s increased military presence in the region, Denmark’s claim to oil and gas beneath the North Pole in December, and President Obama’s recent issuance of an executive order establishing oversight of the United States' Arctic activity. Environmentalists have called the decision to issue new leases a disappointment, pointing to the irony of extracting more fossil fuels from areas that have become accessible due to global warming. Estimates put Arctic reserves at 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30% of its undiscovered natural gas. For the full story, see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2015/01/150122-norway-arctic-drilling-ice-climate-change-energy-oil/.