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Resource Extraction - Arctic Climate Change,
Economy and Society




Key figures


WP4 leader

Katrin Rehdanz is an assistant professor for environmental and resource economics at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel associated with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. She holds a diploma and a PhD in economics from the University of Hamburg. Her main areas of research are …

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WP4 co-leader

Jeremy Wilkinson has studied climate related processes in the polar oceans such as sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics, deep convection and water mass modification in the polar seas for almost 15 years. His expertise also extends through a broad range of techniques, from the remote sensing …

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To see

* The Fermo Statement: OIL SPILL IN SEA ICE. Past, Present and Future. Download the Concluding Statement and a Research Agenda: The "Fermo Statement".Nouvelle fenêtre


* Information on:

The current status of Arctic sea ice


* Download:

Flyer / Newsletters #1-11 / Policy Briefs #1-3

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Resource extraction in the Arctic domain



Energy security is a term that has recently entered our common vocabulary.  Given the political instability of some energy producing countries and the diminishing reserves of oil and gas, energy security is fast becoming one of the leading issues in the world today.  It goes without saying that a nation’s energy policy is inextricably linked to its access to natural resources, but most accessible reserves are presently being exploited.  Dwindling oil and gas reserves means new opportunities are needed if we are to meet the increasing demand for energy within Europe and worldwide.

Recent estimates suggest that 13% of the world's undiscovered oil and 30% of its undiscovered natural gas can be found in the Arctic, almost all of which lie in the offshore marine environment.  The combination of the melting of the Arctic sea ice and the economic and political attractiveness of non-renewable resources, especially sub-sea hydrocarbons, are giving rise to a new Arctic. Even though the rush for Arctic oil and gas has begun it is fair to say that the safe and efficient extraction of these resources still pose many challenges. It is the main objective of WP4 to provide a detailed assessment of the opportunities and multiple risks of hydrocarbon extraction in the Arctic Ocean. In particular to highlight potential environmental pressures, provide pathways for technological, legal and institutional solutions to known problems, and to analyze the socio-economic impacts of resource extraction activity on European and world markets and societies.



  • Analyzing the socio-economic impacts of Arctic resource extraction activity on European and world markets and economies as well as on European policy objectives.
  • Assessing existing technologies, e.g. fixed, floating and sub-sea structures, for their ability to safely extract energy resources and their impact on the environment. This assessment will be performed under both present and future Arctic conditions.
  • Identification of technological gaps that hinder Arctic development, and provide pathways for future technological developments
  • Assessing existing rescue and evacuation crafts or vessels and identifying Arctic requirements for these vessels.
  • Assessing the risks of resource exploration, extraction and transportation in Arctic waters regarding (a) oil spill response capabilities and technologies in ice-covered waters including contingency planning, (b) the behaviour of different types of oil and gas products in cold environment, (c) the impact of present and future oil spill scenarios for different climate change predictions and extreme event scenarios, (d) providing recommendations for the design of an observing system tailored to a safe resource extraction, (e) accuracy of iceberg remote detection, trajectory forecasting, and tracking.
  • Assessing potential environmental pressures with respect to (a) the impact of gas and oil drilling on air quality, (b) health of the environment, (c) noise pollution, (d) identification of ecologically vulnerable areas and existing conservation plans.

    - 10/04/12