NOAA joins big energy in arctic studies

Aug. 26, 2011 at 9:30 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Major oil and gas companies signed a deal with the U.S. oceans and the atmospheric agency to examine the potential effects of arctic exploration, they said.

Royal Dutch Shell, U.S. supermajor ConocoPhillips and the U.S. division of Norway's Statoil signed an agreement to work closer with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agreement calls for the sharing of scientific data on oceanic, coastal and climate science for the arctic.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said the partnership will give the government better ways to manage critical environmental issues in the arctic.

"We will hold our industry partners to our high standards and make sure that, as we learn more, we also prepare for and minimize the risks involved in arctic oil and gas development," she said in a statement.

Melting sea ice in the arctic regions is exposing unexplored oil and natural gas reserves. Environmental groups have expressed concern about effects of oil and gas exploration there.

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