Cornish explorer to follow the route of Watkins’ fateful final expedition
ARCATA, 2 June 2021 – In early June, Kokatat ambassador Jeff Allen will set sail for East Greenland from Falmouth, England, on the coast of Cornwall, following the course of Gino Watkins’ 1932 expedition. Watkins was a rising and acclaimed polar explorer who didn’t return from a seal hunting trip in Tuttlik Fjord in East Greenland that same year.
“Many expeditions have flown to Greenland and explored the area where Watkins was lost, but we believe we may be the first to follow Watkins’ route starting from the UK under sail and combining kayaks,” said Allen. “For me the adventure of sailing as Watkins did adds another level of mystique and authenticity to the expedition.”
Allen will sail to Greenland via the Faroe Islands to Iceland and then on to East Greenland on his 39-foot yacht Wild Rover. Along the way he will explore many of the inlets and islands he encounters via folding skinned kayaks, similar in design to what Watkins used. In East Greenland, Allen will explore the area by kayak and retrace Watkins final paddle.
Watkins was born in 1907 and by his early twenties was being hailed as the natural successor to Scott and Shackleton for polar explorations. In 1932 Watkins made an epic open boat journey around the King Frederick VI coast in Southern Greenland that won him the Royal Geographical Society Founders Medal and international acclaim.
On August 20, 1932, while conducting further research of a 1930 expedition that he led to the east coast of Greenland to observe the weather for a proposed trans-Atlantic air route to connect Europe and North America, he was lost while trying to provide food for his team. His empty kayak was recovered later that day, as were his trousers and kayak apron on an ice flow about one kilometer away. However, his body was never found. Gino Watkins’ kayak and gear are now stored within the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Allen plans to arrive in Greenland late July where he will remain until the middle of August.
This press release was originally published on the website of Outdoorsportswire.com
Insitu, Two Norwegian Companies Join Forces to Advance the Unmanned Aviation Ecosystem in the Arctic and High North
BINGEN, Wash., June 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, announced a strategic alliance with Norwegian-based Robot Aviation and Andøya Space to promote the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) ecosystem in the Arctic and High North. The alliance will offer products and services optimized for the harsh environments north of the Arctic Circle where many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) allies operate.
“This alliance brings together the best from both Norway and the US,” said Gunnar Jan Olsen, the President of Andøya Space Defence. “Andøya Space has a sixty-year heritage of space, defence and UAS operations in the High North, and the cooperation with Robot Aviation and Insitu will help build and strengthen the Norwegian UAS community.”
”This alliance strengthens our presence and commitment to existing and future customers, it enhances our ability to support the growing community of UAS users in the Arctic region” said Niklas Nyroth, the CEO of Robot Aviation.
The alliance will also seek to collaborate with other like-minded companies, research institutions and academic organizations that can add value to the economy in North Norway.
“Our alliance with Andøya Space and Robot Aviation is about growing a sustainable UAS value chain,” said Dave Funkhouser, Insitu’s Global Growth Executive for Northern Europe. “We aspire to service the Arctic and High North by promoting cooperation between the commercial, defense and academic sectors across the region.”
The companies plan to work together on several projects in the defense and commercial sectors beginning later this year.
With offices in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, Insitu creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and managing sensor data. To date, our systems have accumulated more than 1.3 million flight hours.
Insitu Media Relations
About Robot Aviation
With headquarters at Eggemoen Aviation & Technology Park Norway, Robot Aviation is a developer of UAS for military and commercial applications. Offering a family of SkyRobot™ systems tailored for specific missions to enable faster decision making, increased awareness, and consistent accuracy for our users since 2008.
For more information, visit www.robotaviation.com
+47 906 52 502
About Andøya Space
Strategically located 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, Andøya Space of Andenes, Norway operates an orbital launch facility and test range with a 25,000 square kilometer danger area that enables research, development, test and evaluation activities that are not possible anywhere else on Earth. With modern infrastructure, fully instrumented test facilities and low-density airspace over the vast Norwegian Sea, Andøya Space is among the world’s leading environments for UAS training, education and operations under Arctic and maritime conditions.
For more information, visit www.andoyaspace.no
Vice President of Unmanned Systems
+47 988 00 158
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Healing Wings with support of Ice Wireless & Huawei Canada provide Internet-connected Mobile Devices to Emergency Shelters in Canada’s North
IQALUIT, NU, June 8, 2021 /CNW/ – In an effort to continue providing support and connectivity to those most at risk during the pandemic, the Healing Wings Foundation is delighted to make a donation of Huawei tablets and laptops – powered by free and unlimited internet access from Ice Wireless – to clients at four emergency shelters.
The 25 tablets and laptops will be divided up for communal use at Kaushee’s Place, a women’s transition home in Whitehorse; Side Door, an emergency shelter in Yellowknife; YWCA Agvik Nunavut Society in Iqaluit; and Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre in Kuujjuaq, Northern Quebec.
“Many residents in these communities do not have access to the technology that many of us take for granted,” says Healing Wings President Mireille Dahab. “Equipment such as computers, mobile devices and tablets are needed to help facilitate connections with family and friends and enable access to important information for housing, job search, research and education.”
The Healing Wings Foundation has focused heavily on the so-called “digital divide” between Canada’s North and South. This very real disparity translates into fewer employment opportunities as well as challenges to learning, especially during this pandemic.
On top of that, a lack of connectivity and access to technology can also have more dire ramifications.
“Often women do not have access to a phone, or it is shared with their abusers,” says Healing Wings Vice-President Samer Bishay, who is also President and CEO of Ice Wireless. “Communications is important for their safety and security, as well as their ability to search for long-term accommodation, social services and support for their children.”
Dr. Ashraf Salib, also a Healing Wings Vice-President, points out that technology is vital for the youth at these shelters who are either there on their own or with their mothers.
“These laptops and tablets from Huawei – with connectivity from Ice Wireless – enable homework and research for these at-risk youths who are supposed to keep up with studies during such troubling times,” Dr. Salib says. “And with schools open only half days or not at all, the laptops and tablets help reduce the sense of isolation and helplessness.”
All the Huawei devices will be delivered in the near future to the four shelters in Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Kuujjuaq, where they will be connected to Ice Wireless internet service.
“We at Huawei Canada, together with Healing Wings and Ice Wireless, believe in the power of connectivity. We also believe that every Canadian deserves access to a fast and reliable network, no matter which part or where in Canada they call home,” says Tom Wang, President of Huawei Canada. “We are proud to help our partners connect those living in rural and remote communities, bringing people together from coast to coast to coast.”
About Healing Wings Foundation
Founded in 2020 during the pandemic, the Healing Wings Foundation has four main goals: provide connectivity and access to infrastructure to those living in remote arctic communities; provide subsidized accommodation for Armed Forces, Police Officers, Fire Fighters and Veterans and/or their families as they receive medical treatment within the Greater Toronto Area; provide a variety of subsidized or donated social services to those of needs; and collaborate with other local charities and not-for-profit organizations to support their objectives by aiding and providing supplementary programs.
For more information or to make a donation, visit https://www.healingwings.org/
Iristel is Canada’s fastest-growing Competitive Local Exchange Carrier providing innovative communication services that are changing how consumers and businesses communicate. Founded in 1999, Markham-based Iristel operates Canada’s largest facilities-based local voice network extending Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast. It also owns Ice Wireless, an LTE-A carrier with operations in Canada’s northern territories and Quebec. Iristel also owns brands such as Sugar Mobile, an Over-the-Top (OTT) app where phone calls and text messages can be transmitted through data, and Télécommunications de l’Est (TDE), a company that operates a Nomad mobile network, a unique two-way radio digital trunking network built to meet the specific needs of Canada’s rural regions.
About Huawei Canada
Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.
Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes.
At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have more than 194,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company wholly owned by its employees.
Established in 2008, Huawei Canada ranks amongst the top corporate R&D investors in the country and is committed to connecting Canadians for a better, brighter future.
SOURCE Huawei Canada
OSLO, 4 June 2021 – The Norwegian Government is easing the COVID-19 measures in Svalbard by raising the occupancy rate for overnight accommodation to 90 per cent.
The increased occupancy rate applies regardless of whether the room has a separate bathroom or not. The current occupancy rates are 60 and 70 per cent, depending on whether the rooms have their own bathroom. Such restrictions have been necessary because people in Svalbard do not have the same options to quarantine or go into isolation as on the mainland.
‘Most residents in Svalbard are now protected against COVID-19, as most of the population here has been prioritised for vaccination. It is nonetheless necessary to reserve 10 per cent of the accommodation capacity in the event that the need should arise for quarantine or isolation’, says Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Mæland.
Only a few people have been in quarantine in Svalbard, and no outbreaks have been registered so far. Health preparedness in Svalbard is limited. Separate infection control measures have therefore been necessary.
‘At present, the rate of infection is in decline nationwide, the number of people who are vaccinated is increasing every day, and fewer patients are being treated for COVID-19. The other infection control measures that apply specially to Svalbard will thus be assessed together with the situation in Norway. This means that we will be able to make changes in connection with the transition to Step 3’, says Ms Mæland.
This press release originally appeared on the website of the Government of Norway.
In a previous article, I provided an overview of international trade between the Canadian territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut) and the Arctic states for year-end 2016. This article focuses on the categories of exported goods from the three territories to the United States, the world and the European Arctic. More specifically, this article provides a better understanding of Canada’s Northern exports outside of the resource industry and addresses some challenges and opportunities for territorial exports. This kind of analysis is pertinent because the new Arctic Policy Framework Discussion Guide proposes diversifying the regional economy (INAC, 2017), and it will be important to know the export strengths of the three territories.
Export Trade from the Canadian Territories
The sections (categories) of traded/exported goods discussed in this article are determined by the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Harmonized System 2017 that Canada and the other Arctic states use for organisational and comparison purposes (Statistics Canada, 2018, May 30; WCO, 2017, Sept. 21). A complete list of the 21 sections and details on the types of goods found in each section can be found here.
Table 1 provides the actual dollar amount of goods the three territories exported to the United States and the world in 2017, and Table 2 does the same for the European Arctic states. In comparing the different markets, three observations emerge.
First, as a whole, the territories export goods found within 17 sections to the United States and 19 sections to the world, as shown in Table 1. In comparison, the three territories combined only exports goods from 8 of the 21 sections to the European Arctic (Table 2). This indicates that the European Arctic market is not very diverse in relation to the capabilities of the Canada’s Northern economy as a whole.
Second, Nunavut has the potential to be a key regional exporter for Canada both globally and with the European Arctic states. For example, Table 1 shows that Nunavut exports goods from 19 sections to the world, with Yukon coming in a close second with exports in 18 sections, and the NWT with exports in 14 sections. Nunavut also exports the most diverse range of goods to the European Arctic (7 sections) in comparison to Yukon (3 sections) and the NWT (2 sections) as shown in Table 2. However, when it comes to trade with the US, Nunavut trails with only 8 sections, whereas Yukon leads with 16 sections, followed by the NWT with 9 sections (Table 1). Although Nunavut only leads the territories in terms of the value of the exported goods in the European Arctic, their export record in 2017 is impressive considering Nunavut’s challenges with transportation and communications infrastructure that would be needed to ship goods in comparison to Yukon and even the NWT (see: National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, 2016).
Third, while minerals and metals from the mining industry are exported to the United States and the world in general (sections V, XIV, XV) (see Table 1), these goods were not exported to the European Arctic states in 2017 (Table 2). As such, the total dollar value of the goods exported by the territories to these locations has a significantly lower dollar value in comparison to goods exported to the United States and the world. Understanding these differences is important for tapping into the potential of the European Arctic market and the resources that will be needed to increase the territories’ capacity to export their goods.
TABLE 1: EXPORT TRADE FROM THE THREE CANADIAN TERRITORIES TO THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD 2017 (CAD ACTUAL NUMBERS, CUSTOMS BASIS)
|US (incl. Alaska)||World (incl. European Arctic States)|
|I – Live animals and animal products.||52009||–||87106||139115||174286||341165||575390||1090841|
|II – Vegetable products||–||–||–||–||274288||–||17402||291690|
|III – Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|IV – Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, spirits and vinegar; tobacco and manufactures tobacco substitutes.||34301||–||8016||42317||34301||5802||130333||170436|
|V – Mineral products||97315937||–||–||97315937||97315937||1500||418||97317855|
|VI – Products of the chemical or allied industries.||2929||–||23745||26674||3559||0||426776||430335|
|VII – Plastics and articles thereof; rubber and articles thereof.||1263712||–||–||1263712||1263712||539||330167||1594418|
|VIII – Raw hides and skins, leather, furskins and articles thereof; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silk-worm gut).||80760||–||–||80760||134359||42547||173690||350596|
|IX – Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal; cork and articles of cork; manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork.||272339||–||–||272339||272339||–||2687||275026|
|X – Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; recovered (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard.||–||8922||–||8922||–||8986||42827||51813|
|XI – Textiles and Textile Articles||1170||73394||–||74564||20948||75951||17420||114319|
|XII – Footwear, headgear, umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking-sticks, seat-sticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof; prepared feathers and articles made therewith; artificial flowers; articles of human hair.||500||–||–||500||500||–||4612||5112|
|XIII – Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials; ceramic products; glass and glassware.||–||–||–||–||849||–||22124||22973|
|XIV – Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coin.||1903897||5058116||–||6962013||1929537||2024486837||319502278||2345918652|
|XV – Base metals and articles of base metal||83041||180919||20929||284889||4144910||718510||372062||5235482|
|XVI – Machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment; parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles.||601009||81109||7521||689639||706235||252998||3041547||4000780|
|XVII – Vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment.||134529||58246||–||192775||169229||63246||625936||858411|
|XVIII – Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; clocks and watches; musical instruments; parts and accessories thereof.||1220713||29822||740734||1991269||1264034||48633||1137181||2449848|
|XIX – Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|XX – Miscellaneous manufactured articles||22594||7813||13534||43941||22594||7813||213804||244211|
|XXI – Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques.||166669||274193||263334||704196||393219||659213||695723||1748155|
Data source: Statistics Canada (2018, May 30)
TABLE 2: YUKON, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, AND NUNAVUT MERCHANDISE EXPORT TRADE 2017 (CAD ACTUAL NUMBERS, CUSTOMS BASIS)
|VIII – Raw hides and skins, leather, furskins and articles thereof; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silk-worm gut).||1303||200||1925||3428||–||1725||–||1725||–||–||750||–||5042||–||5792|
|XI – Textiles and Textile Articles||12825||–||–||12825||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|XII – Footwear, headgear, umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking-sticks, seat-sticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof; prepared feathers and articles made therewith; artificial flowers; articles of human hair.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||3173||–||–||–||–||–||3173|
|XIII – Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials; ceramic products; glass and glassware.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||12058||–||–||12058|
|XVI – Machinery and mechanical appliances;||–||–||–||–||425||–||10610||11035||–||25057||–||154286||–||214845||394188|
|XVII – Vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||2231||–||863||3094|
|XVIII – Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; clocks and watches; musical instruments; parts and accessories thereof.||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||691||–||–||–||691|
|XXI – Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques.||2300||350||2350||5000||–||–||–||–||–||–||17500||–||3600||–||21100|
Data source: Statistics Canada (2018, May 30)
For a more detailed discussion on trade in the Canadian North, particularly with small and medium sized enterprises (SMES), see The Gordon Foundation’s background research for the 2018 Northern Policy Hackathon.
Challenges and Opportunities
The federal government indicated in the new Arctic Policy Framework Discussion Guide (INAC, 2017) that economic diversification is a priority and that new “trade and investment opportunities across the Arctic and with southern markets” (p.15) is one of the desired outcomes. Following through on this statement would certainly help strengthen the territories trade with the European Arctic and increase the dollar value of exports that fall outside of the extractive resource industry. There are, however, different issues that must first be considered.
Access to broadband facilitates trade relations. A World Bank report found that “A 10 percent increase in the exporter’s Internet adoption leads to a 1.9 percent increase in bilateral exports, while a 10 percent increase in the importer’s Internet adoption leads to a 0.6 percent increase in bilateral exports” (Osnago & Tan, 2016, p. 2). This means that Canada’s Northern exporters will benefit more from increased broadband access in Canada than their trading partners. The report also found that with bilateral trade, “countries with both high levels of Internet adoption have 29.6 percent more bilateral exports, 21.7 percent higher intensive margins and 6.5 percent higher extensive margins” (Osnago & Tan, 2016, p. 2). Clearly, increased broadband across the region would substantially improve Northern economies, and the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) has made recommendations to improve broadband access across the Arctic in general.
Problematically for Canada’s Northern businesses, there is uneven access to broadband across the three territories, and where it is available, it is more expensive and slower than in the rest of Canada (Windeyer, 2016, April 22). Moreover, the territories are lagging in comparison to their European Arctic partners (see: AEC, 2016). This means that the full potential of these businesses to export is not being reached.
The Canadian government has announced that “All 25 communities in Nunavut will have faster internet by 2019, after a new satellite to be launched next year gives the territory access to a different frequency with more capacity” (Frizzell, 2017; Sept, 14, para. 1). While this is a step in the right direction, broadband via cable or fiber is faster and more reliable (see: Adamson-Pickett, 2018, March 13). This technology, however, can be cost prohibitive because fiber would cost about $1B (CAD) to install, just in Nunavut alone (Oudshoorn, 2016, Jan. 20). As such, Northern businesses will likely remain at a digital disadvantage. Telecommunications must become more accessible for Northern businesses to expand their overseas customer base.
My previous article stated that inadequate transportation infrastructure poses a problem for exporting. Since then, the federal government has announced infrastructure projects in the three territories that will “address the unique transportation needs in Canada’s territorial North to improve safety and foster economic and social development” (Government of Canada, 2018, July 19, para 1) as part of the National Trade Corridors Fund.
Yukon is set to receive funding for technology projects that that will provide businesses with “the data and information they need to make safe and efficient decisions” (Government of Canada, 2018, May 18, para. 2) when moving goods by road. For the Northwest Territories, funding will be provided for improvements to the Mackenzie Valley Highway (Government of Canada, 2018, June 27). As for Nunavut, funding has been awarded for some airports to receive energy-efficient upgrades, while the Iqaluit airport will receive a new warehouse that can provide better storage conditions for a range of goods (Government of Canada, 2018, May 16). Other projects for road and marine infrastructure were rejected (see: CBC News, 2018, May 10).
While these investments will help the movement of goods out of the North, continued support for port development in Iqaluit cannot be overlooked, especially as the majority of Canada’s Northern exports to the European Arctic originate in this territory. Indeed, “Nunavut stands to benefit significantly from preferential access to the EU market” (Government of Canada, 2017, March 30) with the implementation of the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Economic infrastructure investments should prioritize this opportunity, especially as Arctic waters are becoming more accessible.
In 2018, the Canadian government imposed its own tariff on American steel and aluminum (and a number of other goods) as a response to American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum (see: Department of Finance Canada, 2018, May 31). The tariffs on American metals have the potential to affect Northern exports, especially as the largest export sector for both Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to the European Arctic are from section XVI, which includes ‘Machinery and mechanical appliances’ (see Table 2). If Northern businesses in this sector source their aluminum and steel from the United States, they are likely to account for the tariffs in the cost of their products. This means that for as long as these tariffs are in place, European Arctic importers may look elsewhere for less expensive goods, possibly affecting the long-term potential for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to develop and expand their export capabilities. There are also concerns at the pan-Arctic level that this trade dispute will negatively affect regional trade more broadly (Eilertsen, 2018, June 4). Unfortunately for Northern businesses, they are at the mercy of politicians when it comes to these matters.
Despite this, there are some opportunities for Canada’s Northern businesses. Internet and infrastructure are two of the Arctic Economic Council’s priority areas and the subject matter of two of their working groups (see: AEC, n.d.a). Canada’s Northern businesses have the opportunity learn from other Arctic businesses and through regional best practices (AEC, n.d.b.). This can be particularly useful as businesses in the territories are waiting for regional transportation and communication infrastructure to be developed. The AEC can also be a venue for regional business stakeholders to engage with politicians and policy makers in terms of regional development requirements, and also as a venue to collectively speak out against the harmful nature of tariffs, especially on smaller businesses.
This article provided an overview of the types of goods that the three territories export to the United States, the European Arctic and the world. What emerges from this information is the potential of Nunavut businesses to become stronger regional exporters. They already have the most diverse range of goods that are exported to the EU, which will likely increase in time with CETA. Efforts are being made to improve internet access in the territory, which can improve the capacity of these businesses to export their products. Moreover, the capacity of Nunavut’s businesses to export their goods to the European Arctic will also likely increase once the Iqaluit port is complete.
At the same time, this is just a snapshot of what the Northern export economy looks like at a certain point in time. There are yearly variances that are affected by larger political and economic forces, meaning that a multi-year analysis is needed to show long-term trends that can be used for both business and policy decision making.
This article and its reference list was originally published on our sister site, The Polar Connection.
OSLO, 9 June 2021 – The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy today announces this year’s licensing round for the geologically best-known parts of the Norwegian continental shelf – APA 2021.
Through the annual licensing round, the oil companies are given the opportunity to gain access to attractive exploration area on the Norwegian shelf. After more than 50 years of exploration activities, the APA scheme covers the majority of opened, accessible area on the Norwegian shelf.
In APA 2021, in accordance with established practice, the predefined area has been expanded by 84 blocks. Four of them are in the North Sea, 10 in the Norwegian Sea and 70 in the Barents Sea. The proposed call has been subject to public consultation.
The companies’ application deadline in this licensing round is noon, September 8. After the application process has been completed, the aim is to grant new production licenses in the announced areas at the beginning of 2022.
— Announcement and allocation of exploration area is important to maintain the level of activity on the Norwegian shelf. It contributes to good resource management, creates great value for the community and secures jobs across the country. The announcement of this APA round is in line with the government’s long-term policy for the petroleum industry. It is also within the framework for the industry, which is agreed upon by a broad majority in the Parliament, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru.
The Norwegian oil and gas industry is the country’s largest and most important industry for value creation, government revenue, exports and investments. In order to maintain activity in the long term, continuity in exploration activity is important. Exploration provides opportunities for new discoveries that can be expanded and help maintain activity and production.
In mature areas, new discoveries are important for achieving good capacity utilization in production and transport facilities. It is also important for good management of time-critical resources.
Full announcement text, updated map of announced blocks, environmental and fisheries conditions, EHS and further information is available on the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s website.
Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) was introduced in 2003 to facilitate exploration in the geologically best known parts of the NCS. The expected size of discoveries in the mature areas is smaller. Exploration often focuses on smaller discoveries that would not justify an independent development, but may be profitable if developed in conjunction with other discoveries and/or utilising existing or planned infrastructure.
In these areas, time critical exploration is important. Effective exploration requires predictability regarding which areas the companies can apply for in the APA-rounds. A steady increase in the number of blocks included in the APA-area is important. The APA rounds are therefore organized annually.
An evaluation is undertaken every year as to whether the APA area should be expanded. There are petroleum-related assessments that decide whether new areas should be added to the APA area. The area expands as new areas are explored.
Petroleum activities in Norway are subject to stringent health, safety and environment requirements, as well as requirements to safeguard the external environment. Significant emphasis is placed on ensuring sound co-existence with other industries.
This press release originally appeared on the website of the Government of Norway.
Partners to the Canadian Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement release a joint statement in response to the suspension of oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
WHITEHORSE, 4 June 2021 –
Today, Representatives of the parties to the Canadian Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement, including the governments of Canada, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Vuntut Gwitchin, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Inuvialuit Game Council came together to respond to the June 1 decision by the US Department of Interior to suspend oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (the Refuge) pending completion of new, comprehensive analysis of environmental impacts.
The Canadian parties have long been concerned about proposed development in the Refuge due to the potential of irreversible impacts of drilling on the Porcupine caribou herd and their sensitive birthing ground habitat, and implication for Indigenous communities who rely on this important resource.
Together, the parties released the following statement:
“It is vital we continue to take action to conserve and restore our natural areas, biodiversity and recover species at risk. Throughout the environmental review process for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, we raised significant concerns about the program, and the process that was followed. These concerns remained unaddressed prior to and following the issuance of leases by the US government in the early part of 2021. This announcement from the US Department of the Interior acknowledges the inadequacies in the process.
“An adequate environmental review will assess the deficiencies we identified through our submissions and should include appropriate consultation with our parties, who collaboratively manage the herd and its habitat and represent the users of the herd in Canada. This aligns with the commitments made by the United States in the International Porcupine Caribou Agreement to protect the international Porcupine caribou herd, safeguard its calving grounds that are invaluable to northern Indigenous Peoples, and provide an opportunity for meaningful discussions about an acceptable path forward.
“Our position remains that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not sustainable for long-term health of the Porcupine caribou herd. We remain committed to our goal of permanent protection for the sacred calving grounds for Porcupine caribou in this region of Alaska.
“We will continue to work with our partners in Alaska and the United States federal government to require adequate environmental review for activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge so that the Porcupine caribou herd and its habitat will remain protected now, and for future generations.
“President Biden has followed through on his commitments to assist us in our efforts. For that we commend his leadership and the support of his administration to ensure that due process will be followed, respecting the rights that are held by stakeholders and rights holders in Canada under international law.”
- The Canadian parties attended multiple bilateral meetings and submitted comments in opposition of the oil and gas leasing program in the Refuge throughout the initial environmental assessment undertaken by the previous administration.
- The current stay of litigation generated by Indigenous and conservation groups (in both Canada and the United States) expires June 11 and the current administration confirmed they will seek additional stays in litigation to support the new process.
- Secretarial Order 3401, released on June 1, 2021, directs the US Department of the Interior to initiate a comprehensive environmental analysis to review the potential impacts of the oil and gas leasing program and to address legal deficiencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This could result in the current leases being reaffirmed, voided or amended to include additional environmental requirements.
This press release was originally published on the Yukon Government’s website.
Saint Petersburg, June 3, 2021 – TotalEnergies has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Novatek to acquire 10% of Arctic Transshipment LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Novatek, which owns and will operate two liquefied natural gas (LNG) transshipment terminals being built in the Murmansk and Kamchatka regions of Russia.
These terminals will provide export logistics services, including to the Arctic LNG 2 project under construction, and will each initially include a 360,000 m3 floating storage unit (FSU) and two ship-to-ship transfer kits (STS). They will allow for the transshipment of LNG from Arc7 ice class LNG carriers, which provide transport on the iced waters of the Arctic Ocean, to conventional LNG carriers, which take care of the remaining delivery. By limiting the use of Arc7 ice class LNG carriers, this optimization of the logistic reduces the costs and CO2 emissions of the LNG transport.
“We are pleased to have signed this acquisition with Novatek, our long-standing strategic partner, which is in line with our strategy of integration along the entire LNG value chain. These terminals mark an important step in the advancement and consolidation of the Arctic LNG 2 project, and will contribute to the safe and sustainable export of cargoes from our existing and developing Yamal projects,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, on the occasion of the signature at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.
TotalEnergies is a 19.4% shareholder in Novatek and holds a 20% stake in Yamal LNG, a project that started up in December 2017 and produced more than 18.8 million tons of LNG in 2020. The company also holds a 10% stake in Arctic LNG 2, a project currently under construction and on track to deliver its first LNG cargo in 2023.
TotalEnergies, Second Largest Global LNG Player
TotalEnergies is the world’s second largest publicly traded LNG player, with a global portfolio of nearly 50 Mt/y by 2025 and a global market share of around 10%. Thanks to its interests in liquefaction plants in Angola, Australia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Russia and Qatar, the company markets LNG on all world markets. TotalEnergies also benefits from strong and diversified positions throughout the LNG value chain, including gas production, LNG transportation, LNG trading, and some recent development in the LNG industry for maritime transport.
This press release originally appeared on the website of TotalEnergies.
Alaska has a strong legacy in the oil and gas industry. Oil’s accessibility, versatility, ease of transport, and relatively low cost fueled our modern society and enabled Alaska to grow and mature in ways impossible without it. It provides us with energy and heat, is a key ingredient to many of the products we depend on daily, and fuels the transportation industry critical to Alaska. While fossil fuels currently power most of the global economy, oil is not our future. In order for Alaska to flourish and thrive in the 21st century, we can’t afford to gamble on an industry on the decline. Driven by economics, technological progress, and overwhelming public pressure, the world is moving away from oil.
As a state, we are at a crossroads. The global energy transition has the potential to upend Alaska’s economy by decimating the price and demand for our oil exports. Alternatively, this same energy transition can be the greatest wealth creation opportunity of our lifetimes. That’s because Alaska’s unique geography, history, natural resources and our decades of experience as an energy state positions us well to be a leader, not a victim, of the inevitable energy transition.
Alaska is no stranger to the economic benefits of fossil fuels
Fossil fuels supply nearly 80% of all global human energy needs. For Alaska it is the engine of nearly our entire economy. According to a recent study by the McDowell Group, 24% of all wage and salary jobs in Alaska are directly related to oil and gas. Beyond that, with each direct O&G job, there are eight more jobs supported by oil and gas activity and seven more supported by oil-related taxes and royalties. Alaska is the only state to have neither a state sales tax or a personal income tax, because our state government has largely been funded by the oil and gas industry. Every year we individually receive a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) funded almost entirely from oil and gas royalties and settlements. No other sector comes close to generating more economic impact in Alaska than the oil and gas industry.
But the oil legacy of Alaska almost didn’t happen. In 1964 when Governor Egan selected Prudhoe Bay for development, many called it Marshall’s Folly after the petroleum geologist tasked with picking the 100 million acres that would be granted by the federal government for state use. For a typical oil-field at the time, a prospect needed to be more than 100 million barrels to make business sense. For Alaska’s remote and rugged North Slope, it would need to be more than 1 billion. For a young state that didn’t have much to lose, it was still a big gamble.
By 1967 and dry well after dry well, most oil companies had given up. ARCO and Humble Oil moved the only remaining oil rig on the North Slope to Prudhoe Bay to drill the very last test well and for weeks the drilling was like watching the grass grow. Then one day the crew opened a valve to test the well pressure and it sounded like a jet plane overhead. They ignited the gas gushing out and it sparked a 50-foot flare that burned over eight hours. A second well confirmed the massive discovery – the biggest in North America – of 9.6 billion barrels of oil that forever changed the fate of the State of Alaska.
For more than three decades, however, the overarching story for the North Slope has been one of decline. After hitting a peak of more than two million barrels per day, oil production in Alaska has declined more than 75 percent since 1988. In the past few years, production has actually increased as Hilcorp has acquired BP’s North Slope assets. The state is looking to Hilcorp and independents like them for a turnaround that would extend the North Slope’s life and create hundreds of jobs while investing millions of dollars in some of the basin’s oldest sites. With Hilcorp’s strong track record of increasing production in older fields, Alaska is once again betting big on oil to revive our flailing economy.
Oil and gas majors signal fossil fuel decline and transition to renewables
Alaska’s wager on oil is in stark contrast to the broader trend of oil majors fleeing fossil fuels. In response to the exponential growth of the renewable energy sector, the decline of hydrocarbon markets and from pressure of shareholders and climate activists to reduce carbon emissions, oil majors are identifying new strategies to profit from the energy transition. BP has divested itself of its Alaska assets and exited the state. Its 2020 annual Energy Outlook revealed projections that global oil demand peaked in 2019 and will decline even more rapidly in the face of stronger climate action. This further cuts the prospects for fossil fuels and raises the expectation for renewables. BP took one step further and developed plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 as an ‘integrated energy company’ ready to move ‘beyond petroleum’, rather than an oil major.
BP isn’t the only oil major making such sweeping changes to their business model. Oil majors around the world are identifying new strategies for capturing their share of the market resulting from the energy transition. The CEO for Royal Dutch Shell told investors it was no longer just an oil and gas company, but an ‘energy transition company’ as a part of its diversification strategy. Seeking to diversify revenues away from volatile oil prices, the French oil major Total is strategically investing in future energy growth markets and recently announced it was leaving the American Petroleum Institute because of differences over climate policy. Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni is investing in renewable energy in order to ensure the company’s ability to adapt to a low carbon future. And Norwegian oil major, Statoil, changed its name to Equinor to reflect a shift in strategy from an oil-focused company to a ‘broad energy company’ in the future, aiming to be at the forefront of “the biggest transition our modern-day energy systems have ever seen”.
The future of energy is electric
This powerful and even long-term trend is from a world of diverse energy sources to one predominantly electric. Driven by electricity’s transportability and steadily decreasing costs, the future of infrastructure is electric. The state-of-the-art long haul transport for electricity, high-voltage DC (HVDC) transmission, has comparable carrying capacity and orders of magnitude as oil and natural gas pipelines. While the price of natural gas, gasoline, and heating oil have generally been constant or trending upward in the long term, the price of electricity has decreased over the last 50 years. Combined with its last-mile transport costs far less than even natural gas or coal, electricity stands out as the easiest, most flexible, and cheapest way to deliver energy to its point-of-use.
Starting when Edison achieved his vision of a full-scale power system with the Pearl Street Station in Manhattan in 1882, end-use energy consumption has steadily increased over the last 140 years and with it our quality of life. Ensuring the abundance of affordable energy is perhaps the single highest priority for the health and well-being of our communities. In this way, the global trend toward clean energy is a story of optimism because decarbonization is good for us – economically, environmentally and socially. Even considering the supply chains for wind and solar energy versus the extraction of fossil fuels, the dramatic reduction in air pollution from combusting fuels – up to 80% – means human health is the big winner in a decarbonized world.
The trends of electrification and decarbonization have been evident for decades now in Alaska’s power systems. If you map our energy transition to a 24-hour clock, our rapid evolution is illustrated clearly: our first utility scale wind project comes online around dinner and in just the last 15 minutes of the day rural utilities are operating with up to 100% renewables.
Alaska’s future will be powered by clean energy, and it’s already started
Our state’s power systems continue to evolve at an escalating pace. For one, with the exception of the natural gas power plants built by the Railbelt utilities between 2013 and 2016, new generation projects have been increasingly focused on renewables. Wind generation has been integrated into rural power plants starting in 1997 and urban utilities followed suit around 2012.
Somewhat surprisingly, utility-scale solar has also grown in the last two years. Though Alaska’s solar resource is largely mis-matched with its winter peak demands, the relative affordability, simple maintenance, and complimentary summer production profile has been embraced with new solar project records set and broken multiple times since 2018.
An early adoption of energy storage across the state preceded the more recent solar ‘boom.’ The growing trend of hybrid energy projects combining storage with wind and solar is enabling renewables to reach higher clean energy penetration in both urban and rural areas of Alaska and storage systems are becoming larger and more common. There are currently over a dozen utility-scale energy storage systems operating throughout Alaska.
Remote communities are deploying increasingly complex systems that include diesel and multiple forms of renewables such as hydro, wind and solar combined with energy storage. Many of these systems incorporate dispatchable loads making them some of the most sophisticated power systems in the world in one of the most extreme environments. These systems require very complex and automated controls that balance the dynamics of renewable generation and dispatchable loads with the most efficient and cost-effective dispatch strategy. Embedded in these systems are advanced algorithms that are refined through the institutional knowledge of our power plant operators and exported around the globe.
One example of these incredible systems can be found on Kodiak Island. There, they have combined 31MW of hydro with 9MW of wind generation, 3MW of battery energy storage, and 2MW flywheel energy storage to operate annually with over 99% renewable energy. Typically the only reason Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) does not operate at 100% renewable energy annually is because they still need to exercise their diesels for the very rare instance they are required to provide backup power. Beyond the obvious complexity of managing a small independent power system with so many generation assets, the City of Kodiak also operates a very large crane – so large that it introduces considerable instability into the power grid – enough to take the system down on its own. KEA’s use of flywheel energy storage to completely mitigate the impact of the crane to the local grid garnered global attention and has become an industry standard for managing dynamic port power systems. In fact, nearly mirror copies of KEA’s storage system can be found in major cities like Los Angeles today.
Investing in Alaska’s energy future
Alaska has already directly invested over $250 million in advanced remote power systems, or microgrids, through the Renewable Energy Fund (REF), established in 2008, and the Emerging Energy Technology Fund (EETF), established in 2010. With over 200 microgrids operating for the last 50 years across the state and a total installed capacity exceeding 800MW, Alaska has the largest install base of microgrids in the world. Meanwhile, the global microgrid market is estimated to be over $2.4 billion today and forecasted to reach over $5.8 billion by 2023. Alaska’s early work in microgrids and renewable integration makes the state a global leader in the energy transition.
As Alaska’s first accelerator, this makes the team at Launch Alaska very excited for the tremendous opportunity it represents for us as a state. Our mission is to accelerate the resource revolution and to find cost effective and reliable solutions for decarbonizing and electrifying our critical systems. Forever grateful for the prosperity and legacy provided by our oil and gas partners, we can join them in shaping the economy of Alaska’s future and realizing the massive wealth creation opportunity that presents itself in the energy transition.
With 40,000 Alaskans on unemployment and 90,000 having received assistance this year, the coronavirus pandemic hits a workforce already suffering from stagnant oil prices and a constricted state economy. The transition to clean energy provides us with a unique opportunity to rebuild the Alaska economy using the skilled workforce of pipefitters and welders, electricians and plumbers, and programmers and technicians trained on the North Slope. At the same time we’re developing our local workforces to install and maintain the new clean energy infrastructure, we’ll be giving our community economies a boost by investing locally the dollars formerly exported on fuel.
In doing so, the energy transition becomes an economic multiplier for Alaska. With the foundation of the oil industry’s legacy, the first mover advantage in high-penetration renewables and microgrids, and our experience in mega-projects, Alaska stands poised to be a global leader in the energy transition. As Alaskan’s we’ve never been scared of getting our hands dirty and working hard to build big, visionary things. Let’s leverage our legendary spirit once again as energy pioneers in the Last Frontier to rebuild our economy for future generations of Alaskans. And, yes, let’s even partner again with our oil and gas colleagues who are themselves investing in the energy transition, if they’re so inclined. After all, we owe it to them for helping us get to where we are today.
But this time, let’s bet on ourselves.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ArcticToday’s staff or owners. This piece was originally posted on the website of Launch Alaska on 31 March, 2021.
MSC reaffirms commitment to avoid arctic cargo routes, helping to limit black carbon and other environmental impacts
SAO PAULO, 1 April 2021 – In view of the recent public debate around container shipping in the Arctic, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has doubled down on its position to avoid considering the Northern Sea Route, including the Northeast and Northwest Passages on environmental grounds.
An expansion of Arctic shipping could increase the emissions of so-called black carbon – physical particles of unburned carbon which can settle on land or ice, as well as compromising air quality and accelerating the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice. Risks such as navigation incidents, fuel spills, air quality and altering the ecological balance / biodiversity of the marine habitat beneath the surface of the sea also outweigh any commercial opportunities to make a short cut between North America or Europe and eastern Russia or Asia.
“As a responsible company, this was an obvious decision for us,” commented MSC CEO Soren Toft. “MSC will not seek to cut through the melting ice of the Arctic to find a new route for commercial shipping and I consider this a position the whole shipping industry must adopt. Some of our peers have already made the same commitment to put the preservation of the Arctic environment ahead of profits. The Northern Sea Route is neither a quick fix for the current market challenges, nor a viable long-term strategy.”
MSC first made this Arctic commitment in 2019. The company is also a leader in improving container shipping energy efficiency through the deployment of almost 24,000 TEU vessels in the sector’s largest fleet investment programme and is actively exploring a range of new fuels and technologies to achieve a zero-carbon future and help mitigate climate change in the process.
Minimising, and subsequently reducing, CO2 emissions is a key pillar of the company’s approach to investing in sustainability. MSC also understands that a reduction in black carbon would not only help tackle climate change, but it could also have benefits for human health. MSC believes that these concerns should not be overlooked amid the current debate over the impact of the COVID pandemic and Suez Canal disruption on supply chains and regards Arctic route exploitation as an unwarranted step in the wrong direction.
“Attempting to open new navigation routes which skim the polar ice cap sounds like the ignorant ambition of an 18th century explorer, when today we know that this would pose further risks to humans and many other species in that region, as well as worsen the impact of shipping upon climate change,” said Bud Darr, Executive Vice President Maritime Policy & Government Affairs at MSC Group.
“MSC supports the decarbonisation targets of the UN International Maritime Organization, including complete decarbonisation of shipping, and sees no overall merit in using this potential trade route. The risks and impacts outweigh the benefits of the shorter transits. There are no shortcuts toward genuine decarbonisation of shipping and this is a shortcut that should definitely be avoided.”
This press release originally appeared on the Mediterranean Shipping Company website.
- Five-year, $400,000 commitment will promote critical research and innovative solutions to address climate change challenges in Canada’s North
WHITEHORSE, YT, June 7, 2021 /CNW/ – Yukon University has received a $400,000 donation from BMO Financial Group to support the establishment of a permafrost institute at the YukonU Research Centre (YRC). This five-year commitment enables continued innovation in YukonU’s permafrost research and contributes to the development of forward-thinking solutions to address the challenges permafrost thaw is bringing to Canada’s North.
“Yukon has one of the fastest warming climates on the planet and this generous donation will allow YukonU to expand our research and help northern communities prepare and respond to the effects of climate change on infrastructure and northern ways of life,” said Dr. Bronwyn Hancock, Associate Vice-President Research, Yukon University.
Expanding field research capabilities to study permafrost in remote locations
YukonU’s Permafrost & Geoscience research team has spent the last decade working with governments (First Nation, municipal, territorial and federal), communities, industry partners and academic institutions across the circumpolar North to assess and mitigate the risks of permafrost thaw. This funding will allow YukonU’s Research Chair in Permafrost and Geoscience, Dr. Fabrice Calmels, and his expert team to expand their multi-disciplinary field research capabilities, including a mobile unit that enables geoscientists, hydrologists, and engineers to study permafrost in remote locations using geotechnical drilling, telemetry (environmental monitoring), geophysical surveys, and aerial imagery with drones. BMO’s donation sustains northern research capacity by investing in skilled experts and creating opportunities for students to learn by doing.
As a result, YukonU’s permafrost research will have greater impact, building on its track record of supporting evidence-based planning and decision-making associated with permafrost thaw. BMO’s donation — one of several recent sustainability-related donations the bank has made to Canadian universities — supports YukonU’s commitment to exceptional research, innovation and learning at YukonU, and builds resilience in northern communities and governments through the study of the impacts of, and adaptations for, the changing climate.
“Climate change is having a direct and devastating impact on Canada’s North and the communities and natural ecosystems that depend on permafrost for survival,” said Michael Torrance, Chief Sustainability Officer, BMO Financial Group. “As part of our Climate Ambition, we recently launched the BMO Climate Institute and we’re excited to be part of the critical work that Yukon University is doing with partners across Canada to find solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change on permafrost in Canada.”
Investigating landscape changes with the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and Champagne Aishihik First Nations
In particular, the upcoming field season will include collaborative work with the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and Champagne Aishihik First Nations, to investigate landscape changes driven by permafrost thaw. This research will help guide construction, land-use decisions and support knowledge transfer to community and land managers so that they can make informed decisions for future projects and policies. The Institute will also develop risk assessments of the Alaska and Dempster highways, in partnership with Yukon Highways and Public Works and Transport Canada. These assessments will lead to the development of an alarm system that will alert and protect residents and travelers who depend on these roadways for food, supplies and access to their traditional territory, and mainland Alaska.
The Permafrost Institute is one of three research chair programs at the YukonU Research Centre. The others include the NSERC Industrial Research Chairs in Northern Mine Remediation, and Northern Energy Innovation. The YukonU Research Centre also hosts a Climate Change Research program.
With a purpose-driven commitment to a sustainable future, BMO is taking action on climate change as our clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net zero world and recently announced its Climate Ambition and the launch of the BMO Climate Institute.
Yukon University is a flexible post-secondary institution that includes a place and pathway for every learner. Our students are grounded in education and research relevant to the North. Our resourceful and creative graduates are building a resilient, versatile and ambitious future for all northerners.
With over 50 degree, diploma, certificate and trades programs, local learners can access opportunities without needing to leave home—those from across Canada and internationally are invited to deepen their understanding of our rapidly changing circumpolar world.
Our 13 campuses are located on the traditional territories of the 14 Yukon First Nations. We respect and honour Yukon First Nations knowledge, worldviews and educational priorities in every aspect of YukonU.
About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $950 billion as of April 30, 2021, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
SOURCE BMO Financial Group
ANCHORAGE, 3 June 2021 – Today, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that Launch Alaska Transportation and Energy Accelerator (LATEA) was selected to receive $1 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) to support startups and promising energy technologies in Alaska. The grant will help drive long term innovation and stimulate new business in Alaska. The partners LATEA brought together for this award include: DOE’s Arctic Energy Office, the Center for Transportation and the Environment, and the Alaska Electric Vehicle Association.
“I am excited to announce today that Launch Alaska, a startup accelerator based in Anchorage that works with entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to tackle climate change, transportation, energy, water, and food challenges, was one of ten organizations nationally to receive a competitive $1 million award from DOE’s Energy EPIC initiative. I was proud to fund this program through my role on the Appropriations Committee. The EPIC initiative is overseen by DOE’s Office of Technology Transition, and seeks to encourage ecosystems for testing, validation, and demonstration of technologies to help them scale and enhance U.S. energy manufacturing competitiveness. I can’t wait to see how Launch Alaska is able to put this award to use, and what exciting innovation it will lead to.”
Senator Murkowski is a senior member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Appropriations Committee.
PhosAgro Signs Agreement with TGC-1 During SPIEF 2021 to Increase the use of Green Energy in its Agrochemical Production Chain
SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — During the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, PhosAgro signed agreement with TGC-1 to increase the use of green energy in its mineral fertilizer production chain.
Last December, PhosAgro’s Board of Directors approved the Company’s climate strategy. The main element of the strategy is to continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including indirect energy emissions generated during the production of electricity consumed by the Company’s industrial facilities. At the heart of the climate strategy is a low-carbon transition plan.
PhosAgro’s signing of an agreement with TGC-1 built on an agreement for the supply of electricity generated at TGC-1’s hydroelectric power plants that the parties signed in January 2021. Some 323 million kWh will be supplied this year.
“PhosAgro and TGC-1 are linked by a long-term partnership. For decades, the cogeneration plants and hydroelectric power plants that are now part of TGC-1 have reliably provided our enterprises and the cities where we operate with heat and electricity. Our Apatit mining and processing plant and TGC-1’s power plants in the Murmansk region were the first companies in the mining industry and in the GOELRO electrification plan, respectively, in the subarctic region.
“At the beginning of this year, we took our cooperation to a new level, having reserved for our Apatit plant supplies of green electricity from TGC-1 that will cover more than 20% of the plant’s energy needs this year. And today we are agreeing on a significant increase in the consumption of green electricity from the TGC-1’s hydroelectric power plants. I am confident that our cooperation with TGC-1, including by obtaining green certificates, will be long-term and productive”, said Andrey Guryev, Chairman of the Management Board and the CEO of PhosAgro, during the signing ceremony.
“As the leading producer of electricity in the north-west and a company that is systematically developing the renewable energy sector, TGC-1 already offers existing and potential partners a genuine tool for reducing their carbon footprint and complying with environmental standards and climate obligations. Today’s agreement is an important step in the development of long-term relations in Russia’s emerging green energy market”, said Vadim Vederchik, Managing Director of TGC-1.
PhosAgro Group has been aggressive in introducing energy-efficient and green technologies at its enterprises. In terms of energy, this involves the use of frequency converters at industrial facilities, which make it possible to reduce the power consumed by electric motors and to cut down on energy losses during the start-up of motors. A major energy-efficiency project is also under way to build a number of power plants operating on exhaust steam from sulphuric acid plants.
This project will enable the Company’s production facilities in Cherepovets and Balakovo to generate 60%–80% of the energy they need. A power generating plant similar in terms of its operating principles is being designed and is currently being built in Volkhov as part of a large investment project. The use of exhaust steam from sulphuric acid production for the generation of energy is fully consistent with the best available technologies and enables the replacement of natural gas for power generation and, accordingly, a significant reduction in the carbon footprint.
In 2020, PhosAgro launched a project for the use of renewable sources of energy at its industrial and social facilities. The first test site was the Izumrud corporate sanatorium and hotel complex in Balakovo. The first solar power plant with a capacity of 25 kW was installed on the roof of the diagnostic and treatment facility at the sanatorium. In the spring of 2021, similar panels will be installed on the hotel at the Izumrud sanatorium, raising the system’s total capacity to 45 kW. In addition, the Company plans to test the technology under factory conditions at its Balakovo chemical cluster.
Moreover, LED lighting is widely used at Group enterprises, which has made it possible to reduce lighting costs by 2x–2.5x and to reduce the carbon footprint of the Company’s finished products. Last year, the apatite-nepheline concentration plant (ANOF) No. 3 switched to LED lighting, and a similar project will be carried out in 2021 at ANOF No. 2.
PhosAgro Group has received high marks from major global ESG ratings for its actions in the area of climate responsibility. In December 2020, for example, CDP, one of the largest and most authoritative studies in terms of corporate climate metrics, revised PhosAgro’s rating upward from C to B-. In its annual review of ESG risk ratings, the influential international agency Sustainalytics raised PhosAgro’s rating considerably – from 43.8 to 26.9 points (moderate risk) – ranking the Company among the top three enterprises in the global agrochemical industry.
At the end of April 2021, the international agency MSCI ESG Research upgraded the Company’s sustainability rating from BBB to A, underlining PhosAgro’s leading position among Russian companies and in the global fertilizer market.
PhosAgro (www.phosagro.com) is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers in terms of production volumes of phosphate-based fertilizers and high-grade phosphate rock with a P2O5 content of 39% and higher. PhosAgro’s environmentally friendly fertilizers stand out for their high efficiency, and they do not lead to the contamination of soils with heavy metals.
The Company is the largest phosphate-based fertilizer producer in Europe (by total combined capacity for DAP/MAP/NP/NPK/NPS), the largest producer of high-grade phosphate rock with a P2O5 content of 39%, a top-three producer of MAP/DAP globally, one of the leading producers of feed phosphates (MCP) in Europe, and the only producer in Russia, and Russia’s only producer of nepheline concentrate (according to the RAFP).
PhosAgro’s main products include phosphate rock, more than 50 grades of fertilizers, feed phosphates, ammonia, and sodium tripolyphosphate, which are used by customers in over 100 countries spanning all of the world’s inhabited continents. The Company’s priority markets outside of Russia and the CIS are Latin America, Europe and Asia.
PhosAgro’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange, and global depositary receipts (GDRs) for shares trade on the London Stock Exchange (under the ticker PHOR). Since 1 June 2016, the Company’s GDRs have been included in the MSCI Russia and MSCI Emerging Markets indexes.
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St. Petersburg – On the 2nd of June the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) and the Saint Petersburg Committee for Arctic Affairs signed a Memorandum on Mutual Understanding and Cooperation (MOU).
The document provides a framework for exchange of inf
ormation and expertise, and identifies several areas of mutual interest, such as maritime transportation, energy, connectivity, investment and infrastructure, and responsible resource development.
Evgeny Ambrosov has signed the MOU on behalf of the AEC.
“Several of the AEC members have their headquarters based in St. Petersburg. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation and joint events,” said Mr Ambrosov, the AEC Chair.
The St. Petersburg Committee for Arctic Affairs was represented by the Chair German Shirokov.
“Last year we have established the Arctic research and development cluster that includes several enterprises along with research and educational institutions. The MOU will allow us to expand the collaboration with the AEC members. Our goal is to develop the companies within the Arctic cluster, ” said Mr Shirokov.
“The core of the AEC activities is based cross-border collaboration. Though the signing of the MOU was postponed for a year due to pandemic, I believe it is symbolic that we signed it just as the Russian chairmanship term began”, said Mads
Qvist Frederiksen, the director of the AEC.
The MOU will soon be available on their website.
Saint Petersburg Committee for Arctic Affairs is a state organisation, which aims at developing collaboration between St. Petersburg and Russian Arctic zone regions in scientific research, as well as on cultural, socio-economic, environmental matters.
Arctic Economic Council is an international business organisation facilitating sustainable economic development and b2b activities in the Arctic.
This press release was originally published by the Arctic Economic Council on June 2, 2021.
Silversea Continues To Lead Restart Of Ultra-Luxury Cruising With New Alaska And Iceland Sailings In July
MIAMI, June 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Silversea Cruises, the first cruise line to return to global ultra-luxury cruising with voyages in Greece and the Galápagos from June, has announced new summer voyages in Alaska and Iceland, starting in July 2021. With the passage of the U.S. Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, which enables cruises to Alaska without required stops in Canada, Silver Muse will resume round-trip sailings from Seattle starting July 29, making Silversea the first ultra-luxury cruise line to operate in Alaska this summer. Silver Shadow will circumnavigate Iceland with the launch of new all-Icelandic itineraries, returning to Northern Europe with three 10-day voyages from Reykjavik, beginning July 30.
“We proudly continue to lead the ultra-luxury cruise industry’s healthy return to service and commend the leadership of Alaska and Iceland for taking steps to advance the safe resumption of global travel,” says Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s President and CEO. “The return to service is fast gaining momentum, and we’ve seen exceptional demand for travel in Alaska and Iceland. We’re eager to welcome back our guests to unlock unforgettable experiences aboard Silver Muse and Silver Shadow while contributing to the local economies of the incredible communities we visit.”
ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER
Made possible by the passing of the U.S. Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, Silver Muse will set sail on round-trip voyages from Seattle as the first ultra-luxury cruise ship to visit Alaska this summer, following a varied series of 10- and 11-day itineraries. These extended voyages will enable Silversea’s guests to journey to some of Alaska’s most breathtaking ice structures, including the Sawyer Glacier and the Mendenhall Glacier, as well as experience the state’s remarkable landscapes, wildlife, and remote communities, such as Ketchikan, Juneau, Wrangell, Skagway, and Sitka.
A diverse array of experiences are available for an additional fee in each destination in Alaska, including the following highlights. From Juneau, Silversea guests can board a helicopter to experience the world-famous Mendenhall Glacier from the air, before touching down in special glacier boots to walk across this immense ice structure, accompanied by a tour guide who will impart their knowledge on glaciers. Offering an alternative experience of the Mendenhall Glacier, travelers can also participate in a three-hour whale quest from Auke Bay, admiring the vast glacier from the comfort of a catamaran while looking out for marine animals. An onboard naturalist will explain the behavior and habitat of the wildlife guests may encounter – from humpback and killer whales to Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, and Bald Eagles. From Skagway, guests can board a vintage train for an exclusive adventure through Skagway’s White Pass and Yukon Route, learning about Alaska’s gold rush past while taking in the state’s natural beauty.
ICELAND: THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
According to the Icelandic Tourist Board, cruise travelers arriving in Iceland peaked at approximately 549,000 in 2019, which indicates a burgeoning demand.1 Responding to exceptionally strong guest feedback, Silversea Cruises had previously announced its largest-ever collection of voyages in Iceland as part of its voyage collection for 2021/2022. A revised collection following the pandemic, the three round-trip voyages from Reykjavik include calls in Grundarfjordur, Isafjordur, Siglufjordur, Akureyri, Husavik, Seydisfjordur, and the island of Heimaey. Circumnavigating a land of jaw-dropping natural beauty and geological wonders aboard Silversea’s intimate, ultra-luxury Silver Shadow, the cruise line’s guests will have the chance to marvel at volcanoes and glacier-sculpted fjords, walk across lava fields, witness magnificent waterfalls and bubbling hot springs, and so much more.
During Silversea’s voyages in Iceland, guests will enjoy immersive shore excursions that are included in the fare. Highlight experiences include an insightful half-day tour from Akureyri, during which travelers will discover Iceland’s vast lava fields, bubbling hot pools, hissing fumaroles, breathtaking waterfalls, and internationally-acclaimed birdlife; an awe-inspiring Puffin Tour from Grundarfjordur, during which guests will board a small boat before sailing to an island renowned for its large colony of nesting Atlantic Puffins; an all-terrain vehicle adventure from Heimaey, on which travelers will witness the spectacular beauty of the Vestmannaeyjar Archipelago and the Eldfell Volcano; an unforgettable 4×4 glacier safari with an ice cave visit; and an authentic journey into Iceland’s herring tradition in Siglufjordur with a tasting.
Silver Muse and Silver Shadow are among the most spacious, luxurious ships at sea. Both feature all ocean-view suites, the personalized service of butlers, and sumptuous cuisine served in multiple restaurants. Enhancing the cruise experience are such all-inclusive amenities as round-trip economy class air (or air credit); pre- and post-cruise hotel night/s, depending on Silversea’s air program schedule; transfers and luggage handling; complimentary premium wines and spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks served throughout the ships; in-suite bars, stocked with guests’ preferences; a complimentary in-suite, 24-hour dining service; onboard gratuities; and unlimited, complimentary Wi-Fi.
CRUISE WITH CONFIDENCE
With Silversea’s flexible booking policy, guests who book before August 31, 2021, will be able to cancel their cruise up to 30 days prior to departure for all voyages (except World Cruises) until April 30, 2022, without penalties when selecting a Future Cruise Credit. Complete details on Silversea’s Cruise with Confidence program are posted on the cruise line’s website.
All guests and crew will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before embarking Silver Muse in Alaska and Silver Shadow in Iceland, as part of Silversea’s comprehensive, multi-layered set of science-backed protocols that will help to safeguard the health and safety of guests, crew, and visited communities. More information is available on Silversea’s website. Silversea will continue to work closely with relevant governing bodies and health authorities to evolve its health and safety procedures, as new health recommendations are issued and as the fluid situation advances.
Please note: Silversea’s new voyages to Alaska will be added to the cruise line’s website on June 7.
Learn more about Silversea’s resumption of cruising:
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Find out more information about Silversea’s health and safety protocols:
Please note: All itineraries are subject to change based on a variety of external factors. Please refer to https://www.silversea.com/health-and-travel-notice.html for the latest health and travel advisories pertaining to cruise travel.
Part of the Royal Caribbean Group, Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the ultra-luxury cruise industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit, Silver Muse and Silver Moon – all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ships Silver Origin, Silver Explorer, and Silver Cloud, Silversea’s itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Galápagos, both Polar Regions, and hundreds of fascinating destinations in between. Silversea is also looking forward to the launch of three new ultra-luxury ships: Silver Dawn and two Evolution-class ships. Browse Silversea’s blog, Discover, and subscribe to receive the latest content directly into your inbox.
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SOURCE Silversea Cruises
OneWeb and Erillisverkot demonstrated Low Earth Orbit satellite connectivity to Finnish Government Agencies at Westcott Venture Park
LONDON and HELSINKI, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — OneWeb, the global communications network powered from Space, invited representatives from across the Finnish Government agencies to observe a demonstration of OneWeb’s Global Connectivity service for the first time. Run in partnership with Finland’s state-run security network provider, Erillisverkot Group, the event demonstrated how OneWeb’s constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites is suited to supporting the operational requirements of multiple government agencies in the High North and Arctic Circle.
Antti Kauppinen, Chief Technology Officer, Erillisverkot Group said: “Erillisverkot wants to present new space technology solutions with partners such as OneWeb to Finnish public safety organisations. Erillisverkot and Finland are one of the global front runners when it comes to co-operation with public safety organisations. To achieve that they must have the state of the art solutions to work with. OneWeb LEO-service certainly meets those requirements.”
Finnish government agencies require assured and seamless levels in connectivity to maximise levels in situation awareness across northern Europe in order to support the full breadth of mission sets including search and rescue; disaster relief; intelligence-gathering; and crisis response.
Dylan Browne, President OneWeb Government said: “OneWeb is delighted to present the capability of LEO satellite communications to enhance the connectivity of government agencies and enable sustainable, scalable connectivity where its most needed and it is our ambition to meet these requirements and provide a high-quality customer experience.”
OneWeb’s new Service Demonstration Centre at Westcott Venture Park’s Innovation Centre in Buckinghamshire, Great Britain, hosted the event which illustrated how OneWeb’s network will provide secure, resilient, high speed and low latency Broadband Internet connectivity.
OneWeb is an ecosystem comprising a constellation of 648 LEO satellites, ground gateways and user terminals which provide uninterrupted coverage to multi-domain platforms on land, in the air and at sea. Service starts in November 2021 above 50 degrees North in the Nordics, Arctic and will be rolled out globally during 2022.
Finnish representatives witnessed how OneWeb will support data throughput up to 195mbps and roundtrip latency levels as low as 70ms. The demonstration also illustrated the seamless hand-over of signals from satellite to satellite and gateway to gateway.
Supported by the UK Government, Eutelsat and Indian telecommunications provider, Bharti Global, OneWeb offers Government customers and enterprise partners solutions for all their defense and emergency response needs.
OneWeb will enable connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere. Find out more at http://www.oneweb.world/government
Erillisverkot Group enables secure critical operations and communications in all circumstances. Erillisverkot provides the organizations responsible for the security and functionality of the society with mission critical services, software services for situational awareness and services securing critical infrastructure and communication. Erillisverkot is a wholly state-owned special-purpose company. For further information: www.erillisverkot.fi, social media @erillisverkot.
NOVATEK and Gazprom Neft Create JV to Develop the North-Vrangelevskiy License Area
“We are expanding our long term resource base to implement new projects in the Arctic Zone of Russia,” noted Leonid Mikhelson, NOVATEK’s Chairman of the Management Board. “We have a solid background for efficient operations on this new prospective project: successful track record of joint projects implementation with Gazprom Neft, our experience in navigating the Northern Sea Route as well as the measures taken by the Government of the Russian Federation to ensure year-round navigation along the NSR”.
This press release was originally published on the NOVATEK website.
WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today suspended all activities related to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending completion of a comprehensive analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Secretarial Order 3401 directs the Department to initiate a comprehensive environmental analysis to review the potential impacts of the Program and to address legal deficiencies in the current leasing program’s environmental review under NEPA. The Department is notifying lessees that it is suspending oil and gas leases in the Arctic Refuge, pending the review, to determine whether the leases should be reaffirmed, voided, or subject to additional mitigation measures.
Under the previous administration, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) established and began administering an oil and gas program in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge. After the BLM prepared the “Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Environmental Impact Statement” (EIS) under NEPA, the BLM held a lease sale on January 6, 2021, and subsequently issued 10-year leases on nine tracts covering more than 430,000 acres.
On Day One, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990, directing the Interior Department to review oil and gas activity in the Arctic Refuge. After conducting the required review, the Department identified defects in the underlying Record of Decision supporting the leases, including the lack of analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives in the EIS conducted under NEPA.
Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
Originally published by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
ANCHORAGE – June 1, 2021 – The Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) reacted today with concern at the Biden Administration’s announcement suspending all oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) pending further review.
“AOGA is disappointed in the administration’s decision to suspend all oil and gas leases in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” said Patrick Bergt, AOGA Regulatory and Legal Affairs Manager. “Leasing and development of the Coastal Plain has been a priority for the State of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation, and countless other stakeholders since 1987 when the Department of Interior first recommended that action be taken. The development of Alaska’s oil and gas resources has produced enormous economic, social, and scientific benefits, while simultaneously minimizing environmental impacts and protecting all Alaska’s natural resources. Coastal Plain oil would add volume to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System for the benefit of all Alaskans and the nation’s energy security. No one is better equipped to drill safely in Alaska’s Arctic than Alaskans. We hope the Biden Administration will recognize this fact and allow Alaska to chart its own course.”
AOGA is a professional trade association whose mission is to foster the long-term viability of the oil and gas industry in Alaska for the benefit of all Alaskans. More information about the organization can be found at www.aoga.org, on Facebook (AlaskaOilAndGas), Twitter (@AOGA) and Instagram (@alaskaoilgasassociation).
This press release originally appeared on the Alaska Oil and Gas Association website.
Washington — Today the Biden administration announced the suspension of oil and gas leases for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge issued under the leasing mandate contained in the 2017 Tax Act. President Biden had previously placed a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing activities on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain, doing so via an executive order issued on his first day in office.
Alaska Wilderness League is one of several organizations that sued the Trump administration in August 2020 over the finalizing of an illegal leasing program that violated bedrock environmental laws including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Statement by Kristen Miller, Acting Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League:
“We strongly support the Biden administration’s commitment to preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last great expanses of untouched wilderness areas in America. The leasing program and resulting lease sale were the result on a substantial flawed and legally deficient process that must be reversed. Suspending these leases is a step in the right direction and we commend the Biden administration for committing to a new program analysis that prioritizes sound science and adequate tribal consultation. The Arctic Refuge coastal plain is sacred to the Gwich’in people who were roundly ignored by the Trump administration, as well as the Iñupiat that have lived on the coastal plain for generations.
“There is still more to be done. Until the leases are canceled, they will remain a threat to one of the wildest places left in America. Now we look to the administration and Congress to prioritize legislatively repealing the oil leasing mandate and restore protections to the Arctic Refuge coastal plain.”
This press release originally appeared on the Alaska Wilderness League website.