Showing posts with label shell. alsaka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shell. alsaka. Show all posts

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Who owns the North Pole - Part 50

We have now reached a land-mark half-century of posts titled Who Owns the North Pole. Why bother? Because it raises questions of national sovereignty over a previously ecologically vulnerable region that will become increasingly exploited for its natural resources as a consequence of climate change. The issue of the arctic reveals the nature of capitalist expansion.

Dan Sullivan, a former state attorney general, is the commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources says that Alaska has about 40 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and more than 200 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas.with some experts predicting that the United States could become the largest hydrocarbon producer in the word -- outstripping Saudi Arabia and Russia -- by 2020. Developing Arctic resources will promote our American interests in many ways: securing a politically stable, long-term supply of domestic energy; boosting U.S. economic growth and jobs; reducing the federal trade deficit; and strengthening global leadership on energy issues. Leading academic researchers and economists in Alaska have estimated that oil production from Alaska's outer continental shelf will bring federal revenues of approximately $167 billion over 50 years, and create 55,000 jobs throughout the country.

Sullivan argues that America possesses some of the highest standards in the world for environmental protection. "Developing U.S. resources in the Arctic has the added benefit of enhancing global environmental protection. One of the arguments used by Arctic drilling opponents is that "we aren't ready," but it is obvious that no matter what preparations are made, they will argue that it isn't enough...Delay or disallow responsible resource development, the end result is not to protect the environment, but to drive hydrocarbon investment and production to countries with much lower environmental standards and enforcement capacity. Last year, it was reported that between 5 million and 20 million tons of oil leak in Russia per year. This is equivalent to a Deepwater Horizon blowout about every two months. Russia had an estimated 18,000 oil pipeline ruptures in 2010 -- the figure for the U.S. that year was 341. If we do not pursue responsible development in the Arctic, countries such as Russia -- perhaps even China, which is interested in securing access to Arctic hydrocarbon resources -- will dominate energy production from the Arctic. Such a scenario does not bode well for the global environment."

When Sullivan cites Shell as an example of good providence, it seems he conveniently forgets about their operations in the Niger Delta. The estimated oil spill in the Niger Delta ecosystem over the past 50 years is equivalent to about one “Exxon Valdez” disaster each year.



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