The vessel ”Artemis Atlantic” on the 19th August completed the assembly of seismic data from the northern parts of the Barents Sea, one month ahead of the original schedule.
”Because of nice weather and few technical problems, the data assembly has been more efficient than we anticipated”, Sissel Eriksen from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate says in a press release.
However, as noted by Greenpeace, the vessel collected far less data than planned. According to the original plan, a total of 7100 km of 2D seismics was to be conducted, but only about 5600 km was actually done, the environmental organization informs.
Reportedly, the ”Artemis Atlantic” chose not to enter the northernmost parts of the Svalbard zone.
As previously reported, the vessel was to operate in the northern Barents Sea until 15 September. The results of the mapping will not be made public.
Greenpeace sees the high north seismic operations as ”an unacceptable sneak opening of the vulnerable and ice covered Svalbard zone for oil drilling”. According to organization leader Truls Gulowsen, the operations are also a breach of a government declaration which bans petroleum activity in areas near the ice edge.
The Greenpeace ship ”Esperanza” has this summer been in the Svalbard waters for several weeks, and last Wednesday approached the ”Artemis Atlantic”, which subsequently changed course towards Hammerfest, the organization informs.
The mapping of the seabed around the Svalbard archipelago is controversial not only because of the far Arctic vulnerable environment, but also for political reasons.
Norway claims sovereignty over the shelf around the Svalbard archipelago. That position, however, is disputed by most other countries, among them neighboring Russia. The Svalbard Treaty from 1920 grants Norway sovereignty over the archipelago, but certain conditions apply, among them the signatory states’ equal right to engage in economic activities on the area. Norway argues that the treaty’s provisions of equal economic access apply only to the archipelago’s territorial waters, but not to the wider Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf.
Norwegian state-owned coal mining company Store Norske on the Svalbard archipelago is in a serious situation because of low prices on coal. The company is now in dialogue with the State, employees and the bank to secure further operations in 2015.
What was the Barents Region’s only east-west flight, from Arkhangelsk to Tromsø via Murmansk, lacks permission and is no longer flying. Nordavia, however, hopes to see the Pskovaia operated aircraft soon landing in Tromsø again.
This abandoned polar hydrometrological station at Cape Menshikova on Novaya Zemlya can be declared a culture heritage site as Arkhangelsk authorities urge Moscow to include Arctic objects in the state register.
Industrialists in Finland eye the opening of a major trade and transport route with a projected railway connection to the Norwegian Arctic coast. Former PM Paavo Lipponen has been hired to get the Norwegians onboard.
Photographer Cristian Barnett traveled around the Arctic Circle, capturing life at 66° 33′ 44″ N. The result is his new book and traveling exhibition, Life on the Line. BarentsObserver spoke with Barnett about his impressions of life on the Circle and the decisions he made to capture it.
The Sami Council, which is an umbrella organization for Sami organizations in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, has agreed that there is a need for Sami to be present in the EU capital of Brussels and plans to establish an office there.