As Russia partners with Shell to exploit natural resources in the Arctic, Greenpeace has claimed that oil companies from the country spill over 30m barrels a year – causing vast environmental and social problems.
The campaign group says that Russia’s partnership with firms like Shell has seen much of its fossil fuel operations move from the mainland into Arctic waters – substantially increasing the risk of spills.
“Russia’s state-owned oil companies have a complete monopoly over access to their country’s Arctic oil reserves”, it said in an email to supporters.
“And global oil companies like Shell, who are just gagging to get their hands on Arctic oil, can provide the financial resources and equipment needed in return for a slice of the profits. It’s a match made in hell.”
However, the dash for Arctic oil reserves is not exclusive to Russia. It is evident in most of the countries that have access to the region, such as Canada, the US, Norway and Denmark. As the Russian newspaper Pravda noted, it might be only a matter of time before powerful countries start to compete for the control of the area.
Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said, “An active development of the Arctic shelf will inevitably lead to a conflict of interests between countries. Addressing these conflicts may go beyond diplomatic means. It is likely that Russian oil and gas production facilities become targets of hidden sabotage by competitor countries“.
In May, three campaign groups claimed that oil giants were putting investors’ money at risks by co-operating with two Russian energy giants that have poor safety performances, in exchange for access to oil sites in the Arctic.
This was followed by news of a crew of Russian scientists being forced to leave their research station in the Arctic because of the rapid ice melt.
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