Arctic For Sale

A rush for black gold is underway in the Great White North.

by John McNeil

Canada has put a giant For Sale sign on its Arctic, and the world’s largest energy companies are outbidding each other to snatch it up. Around the globe, the North is the next great oil frontier, but the risks are high in light of the 2010 BP oil spill.

While northern oil exploration in Canada was halted for a two-year review following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, that review did little more than formalize the application process for opening a vast area of the north to oil exploration.

The northern ice cap has been receding in recent years, and passable waterways have for the first time opened new shipping lanes through the Arctic Circle. For many years, the lack of such clear channels to efficiently ship the product deterred energy companies from investing in exploratory operations — why spend money to find oil if there was no viable way to transport it to market?

But with waterways now open in the summer, multinational energy companies such as ExxonMobile and Chevron are …

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