Norway Offers New Arctic Leases, Stoking Polar Energy Rush

ENVISION

A Russian oil rig sits in the Barents Sea, where Norway has just opened more leases for its own energy exploration. PHOTOGRAPH BY DMITRY KOROTAYEV, KOMMERSANT PHOTO/GETTY A Russian oil rig sits in the Barents Sea, where Norway has just opened more leases for its own energy exploration.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DMITRY KOROTAYEV, KOMMERSANT PHOTO/GETTY

By Christina Nunez

National Geographic

Despite sinking oil prices, Norway this week signaled its commitment to drilling for Arctic oil by offering new leases in the region for the first time since 1994.

The Norwegian move came as President Barack Obama issued an executive order setting up new oversight of U.S. Arctic activity, including energy exploration. And it follows Denmark’s claim last month to oil and gas beneath the North Pole.

Russia, meanwhile, is beefing up its forces in the region this year. It’s all part of a rush to stake out boundary lines as the ice melts in an area that holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas—the vast majority of which is…

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