Sergei Frank, director of shipping company Sovcomflot said cargo vessel SCF Amur traversed a northern sea route during the summer, marking the first time a petroleum delivery from Gazprom Neft, the fifth-largest oil producer in Russia, was made through the high-latitude shipping lane.
Gazprom and Sovcomflot arranged a test shipment to Asia-Pacific markets using the northern route in January. Gazprom said using the northern route is "significantly faster" than conventional lanes in Mediterranean waters or through the Indian Ocean.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., reported the polar ice cap reached "uncharted territory" last month when it measured about 1.3 million square miles, 18 percent less ice cover than the previous low record set in 2007.
Celebrity Families of 2014 [PHOTOS]