Status of Offshore Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic

Oil and Gas cover3It is of interest to PAME to better understand the status of oil and gas activities and regulatory frameworks in the Arctic. The last assessment of offshore oil and gas activities and regulatory frameworks was contained in the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) Working Group of the Arctic Council’s 2010 Assessment, Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic – Effects and Potential Effects (2010 OGA).

In an effort to understand the status of current or planned offshore oil and gas activities as well as changes to relevant legislation, regulations, and policies over the last several years, information was sought from Arctic States. States were requested to provide a short description of activities currently underway or being planned. In addition, States were requested to describe any amendments to existing legislation or regulations or the establishment of new legislation or regulations, as well as policies, practices, and organizational structures, instituted after the 2010 OGA.

In summation, almost all Arctic nations with oil and gas programs underwent changes in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The United States had the biggest changes including a reorganization and complete rebuilding of the offshore oil and gas regulatory agencies and rules and Greenland whose oil and gas department moved from being a part of the Mineral License and Safety Authority (MLSA) to become a part of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Research (MIER). The United States, Norway and Canada also had some major changes to their safety regulation regimes.

Most offshore activity is being conducted on the Arctic shelves of Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United States. Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United States have production from Arctic oil and gas fields and active exploration programs. Canada has suspended their offshore Arctic program for five years, which is up in 2021. Greenland/Faroe Islands/Kingdom of Denmark have nascent programs as does Iceland.

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QUESTIONS ASKED OF THE ARCTIC STATES
1. Please describe current and planned offshore oil and gas activities in the Arctic
2. Please describe in further detail exploration or development activities on offshore leased or licensed lands
3. Please describe any new or amended legislation and regulations governing offshore oil and gas activities since the 2010 OGA

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