Note: The US better get its act together if it wishes to be a player in the Arctic. Russia is on the march. Alaska is the U.S. Arctic gateway. Does the U.S. wish to become competitive in an area where the majority of the world’s energy reserves are…or, do we play defense against Russian economic and military initiatives. See our 4-1-17 Russian commentary. -dh
SABETTA, Russia — An ice-breaking liquefied natural gas tanker docked for the first time at Russia’s Arctic port of Sabetta to test a new route that could open the ice-bound Arctic Ocean to ships carrying oil and liquefied gas.
The route is eagerly anticipated by energy firms that want to develop resources in the Arctic but face obstacles in getting oil and gas from remote and freezing fields to world markets.
Environmental activists fear commercial shipping in the Arctic — now possible because climate change has thinned the ice for part of the year — will allow exploitation of a region that up to now has been a pristine wilderness.
The 80,000-tonne-capacity Christophe de Margerie, an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport LNG, docked in the icy port of Sabetta, with Russian President Vladimir Putin watching via live video-link.
Putin congratulated the crew and energy company officials gathered on the ship’s bridge, saying: “This is a big event in the opening up of the Arctic.”