While the U.S. had responded to the stranglehold OPEC had on it during the early ’70s oil embargo by putting in the Alaska Pipeline, Russia also went to it’s polar areas for an energy solution.  In the early 1980s on Kolguyev Island the Soviet Union put in oil extraction equipment to pull up high quality light crude which it then puts out to tankers offshore for transport. Farther north, Bovanenkova on the Yamal Peninsula was explored in the 1970’s for natural gas and now is producing at the urging of Putin.

As the output of the pipeline decreases and there is no near gas project that is being developed (at this point), it may be that Russia may be better positioned to develop the opening Arctic with energy infrastructure  and transportation than the U.S./Alaska. There has already been a head start by far on claiming the ice shelf in front of the North Slope (of Russia) to the North Pole.  This is certainly true on their diplomatic end as well as legal side of Polar claims.

It will be interesting as to what energy projects, off coast or continental, will crop up the next 10 years.

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