Greenpeace: Arctic drilling not worth risk

Aug. 31, 2012 at 7:11 AM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Oil production in the arctic waters of the Russian continental shelf isn't worth high production costs and the potential environmental risk, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace this week conducted a campaign in Russia's arctic waters that began when the group's director Kumi Naido joined four other activists in anchoring themselves to the base of the rig in the arctic waters of the Pechora Sea starting Aug. 24.

Russian energy company Gazprom estimated reserves in the region at around 527 million barrels, which the energy company said translates to about 43 million barrels of oil production per year.

Naido, in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the production costs suggest the venture isn't profitable.

"Instead of contributing positively to the Russian economy, it is more likely to become a drain on federal and perhaps regional budgets," his letter states.

Naido points to a recent decision to delay development of the Shtokman natural gas field in the Barents Sea. The field is said to contain more than natural gas combined reserves the Norwegian and British continental shelves. The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London reports that high Russian taxes and weak natural gas demand forced developers to put the project on hold temporarily.

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