The Prospects and Challenges for Arctic Oil Development

Oil, Gas & Energy Law (OGEL), Vol 14, No 2, 2016.

The role of the Arctic region in global petroleum supply over the next decades is becoming a subject of increasing interest as the potential of the region´s geology is revealed and the shrinking of the ice-cap makes drilling an increasingly feasible activity. Nevertheless, significant concerns remain, not least the potential impact of any hydrocarbon E&P activity in an environmentally sensitive region. In addition, the lack of existing infrastructure and the likely high cost of any development means that the economics of any new projects will depend on the size of discoveries and the oil price. Although the region could become a major source of future oil supply, there are a number of challenges - including the impact of sanctions resulting from the Ukraine crisis - to be met before this potential can be realized.