Chukchi Sea News

05 Jul 2019

Arctic Sea Route Opens for Year's First LNG Cargo

AdobeStcok / © Cascoly2

A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker carrying a cargo from the Yamal LNG plant has spent this week making its way through Arctic waters north of Russia towards Asia, marking the first voyage of the 2019 summer season across the Northern Sea Route.The Vladimir Rusanov, an Arc7-classed LNG tanker that can plough through semi-cleared waters, left the Sabetta port on June 29 and is in the Chukchi Sea close to the Bering Strait, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed on Friday.The route…

04 Jan 2019

Cook Inlet Tug & Barge Announces Interim Manager

Amber Thomas, interim Business Operations Manager for Anchorage. (Image: Foss)

Project Manager to Temporarily Lead Alaska Operations. Cook Inlet Tug & Barge (CITB), an independently managed subsidiary of Foss Maritime Company, announced that Foss project manager Amber Thomas has been selected as interim Business Operations Manager for Anchorage. Beginning January 2, Thomas will serve as the central point person for administrative and commercial operations, leading all shoreside activities in Anchorage and Seward. Thomas will take on the temporary position while the search continues for a new president to replace former CITB head Ben Stevens.

01 Apr 2018

Arctic: ExxonMobil Exits, Rosneft Goes Ahead

Photo: ExxonMobil

Russian state oil company Rosneft will continue geological explorations in the Arctic offshore zone after ExxonMobil quits the joint projects, reports TASS. The report qouted Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy saying that the Arctic licenses will remain with Rosneft and the company "plans to continue to operate there". Exxon Mobil  decided to withdraw from the joint projects with Rosneft in late 2017 after Washington issued a legal act expanding against Russia. According to the document, in 2013 and 2014 Exxon Mobil and Rosneft created various entities for operations in oil exploration.

14 Mar 2018

US Navy Submarines Surface in the Arctic Circle

Photo: US Navy

A pair of U.S. Navy submarines recently surfaced in the Arctic Circle as part of multinational maritime exercise north of Alaska. Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) and Seawolf-class fast attack submarine, USS Connecticut (SSN 22) surfaced in the Arctic Circle March 10 during the multinational maritime Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. Both submarines, as well the UK Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant (S91), are participating in the biennial exercise in the Arctic to train and validate the warfighting capabilities of submarines in extreme cold-water conditions.

30 Jan 2018

Alaska Requests Limits on US Offshore Drilling

© eqroy / Adobe Stock

Alaska Governor Bill Walker said on Tuesday he has asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to pare back a Trump administration plan for oil and gas leasing off the state's coast. While Walker supports offshore oil development, he said the Interior Department should focus on the most prospective areas off Alaska – the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic and Cook Inlet in southern Alaska – and drop all others from the leasing plan. In asking for proposed lease sales to be dropped…

20 Mar 2017

OP/Ed: Obama’s Arctic Decision Undercut His Own Legacy

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

On December 20, 2016, in an 11th hour unilateral action designed to cement his environmental legacy, President Obama withdrew 3.8 million acres in the north and mid-Atlantic Ocean and 115 million acres in the U.S. Arctic Ocean (including the entire Chukchi Sea and a significant portion of the Beaufort Sea) from future oil and gas leasing. Unlike the five year moratoria announced by Canada, President Obama touted these closures as “permanent.” Not only does this short-sighted decision threaten the economic lifeline of Alaska, U.S. energy leadership and U.S.

06 Feb 2017

A Time to Build & Refit

Bulbous and New: The Ocean Peace post-conversion. (Photo: Vigor)

The aging Pacific Northwest fishing fleet is either undergoing or about to undergo a long-overdo upgrade, judging by a major economic report commissioned by the Port of Seattle. Fisheries managers, seafood suppliers, yards and the supply chain all hope an accompanying surge in ship finance “lifts all boats”. For now, the newbuild count is growing apace, slowed just a bit by owners opting for major retrofits amid rich fish harvests. This fisheries upsurge comes with some rising stars of ship design-and-build for vessels set to ply the Bering and Beaufort seas.

21 Dec 2016

Obama Bans New Drilling off Alaska, Part of Atlantic Shore

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday banned new oil and gas drilling in federal waters in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, in a push to leave his stamp on the environment before Republican Donald Trump takes office next month. Obama used a 1950s-era law called the Outer Continental Shelf Act that allows presidents to limit areas from mineral leasing and drilling. Environmental groups said that meant Trump's incoming administration would have to go court if it sought to reverse the move.

17 Oct 2016

Sailing into the Arctic’s Future

Randall Luthi (Photo: NOIA)

Last month, a large cruise ship completed its inaugural cruise through the Northwest Passage. The historic journey brought nearly 1,700 passengers from Seward, Alaska, past the rugged wilderness and isolated villages of the Arctic, to the concrete jungle of New York City. Along the way, passengers and crew were treated to a stunning contrast of climates, geography and culture. While understandable, concerns over passenger safety, wildlife disruptions and water pollution went unrealized during the historic cruise through the passage.

04 Oct 2016

Op-Ed: Alaska's Golden Offshore Opportunity

Credit: Shell McCown

Offshore energy presents a golden opportunity for Alaska and the United States. As we enter the final quarter of the year, one of the last and most pressing pieces of business facing the Interior Department is to finalize its next offshore leasing program, which will specify exactly which parts of the United States’ Outer Continental Shelf will be open to oil and gas development between 2017 and 2022. Having already cut the Atlantic from its proposed program back in March, the…

31 Aug 2016

Arctic Sea Ice Melt Continues

Average sea surface temperature measured by satellites using thermal emission sensors, which produce global data adjusted after comparison with ship and buoy data, and sea ice concentration derived from NSIDC near-real-time data for August 7, 2016. Also shown are drifting buoy temperatures at the ocean surface (colored circles); gray circles indicate that temperature data from the buoys are not available. (Credit: M. Steele, Polar Science Center/University of Washington)

As of August 14, Arctic sea ice extent is tracking third lowest in the satellite record, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The southern route through the Northwest Passage appears to be largely free of ice. Despite a rather diffuse ice cover in the Chukchi Sea, it is unlikely that Arctic sea ice extent this September will fall below the record minimum set in 2012. As of August 14, Arctic sea ice extent was 5.61 million square kilometers, the third lowest extent in the satellite record for this date and slightly below the two standard deviation range.

19 Jun 2016

Hundreds of Scientists Urge Obama to Halt Arctic Oil Drilling

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Nearly 400 scientists from more than a dozen countries signed a letter urging U.S. President Barack Obama to take the Arctic Ocean out of the next federal offshore lease sale plan, thus ruling out the possibility of offshore drilling in the Arctic in the near future. Scientists from 13 countries have signed the letter saying global warming will be accelerated by burning oil found in the Arctic Ocean. “No new oil and gas leasing or exploration should be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the foreseeable future,” the scientists said.

14 Apr 2016

High Correlation of Biomass to Species Diversity in Northern Chukchi Sea - BOEM Study

Last summer, researchers began a five year study to monitor biodiversity in the Arctic Chukchi Sea from an ecosystem perspective, looking at microbes, whales and everything in between. health and critical ecosystem services that contribute to human life. Monitoring it improves our ability to interpret and forecast changes. The unprecedented effects of climate change combined with strong seasonal cycles and increasing human activities in the Arctic make this region particularly important to monitor. In August 2015, the AMBON team of researchers from the University of Alaska’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the University of Maryland…

06 Jan 2016

Remains of Lost 1800s Whaling Fleet Found

Abandonment of the whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September 1871, including the George, Gayhead, and Concordia. This illustation originally ran in Harper’s Weekly in 1871. (Credit: Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library)

NOAA archaeologists have discovered the battered hulls of two 1800s whaling ships nearly 144 years after they and 31 others sank off the Arctic coast of Alaska in one of the planet's most unexplored ocean regions. The shipwrecks, and parts of other ships, that were found are most likely the remains of 33 ships trapped by pack ice close to the Alaskan Arctic shore in September 1871. The whaling captains had counted on a wind shift from the east to drive the ice out to sea as it had always done in years past.

28 Dec 2015

Shell Terminates Polar Pioneer Contract

(U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Air Station Port Angeles)

Royal Dutch Shell has elected to terminate the contract for harsh environment semisubmersible rig Polar Pioneer prior to its expiration in July 2017, the rig's owner Transocean Ltd. announced. Transocean said it will be compensated for the early termination through a lump-sum payment that includes adjustments for reduced operating costs and demobilization to Norway.   Shell initially intended to use the rig for its Arctic operations in the Chukchi Sea, but called off the campaign in September.

23 Dec 2015

Arctic Coast Guard Forum: Eyes and Ears Up North

Sailors aboard the fast attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) inspect the boat after surfacing through Arctic ice. Seawolf conducted routine Arctic operations. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

On October 30, 2015, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the heads of eight agencies fulfilling the functions of Coast Guard of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States signed a Joint Statement formally establishing the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF). The ACGF is an independent, informal, operationally-driven organization. It is not bound by treaty, but will work in cooperation with the Arctic Council to foster safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic region.

17 Nov 2015

Update: Statoil Follows Shell out of Alaska

Norwegian oil major Statoil said on Tuesday it will pull out of Alaska's Chukchi Sea, just weeks after Royal Dutch Shell abandoned the treacherous waters there after spending billions on oil exploration work. The latest pullback comes as oil companies slash spending on expensive offshore projects during the worst price crash in six years. Businesses, politicians and environmental groups have squared off over drilling in the Arctic, which is widely believed to have large undiscovered oil resources. Statoil said it will exit 16 leases it operates and its stake in 50 leases operated by ConocoPhillips. "Since 2008, we have worked to progress our options in Alaska.

17 Nov 2015

Statoil’s Exit from Alaska ‘Disappointing’ -NOIA

Randall Luthi (Photo: NOIA)

NOIA President Randall Luthi, issued a statement on Statoil’s decision to exit the Alaskan Arctic, calling the departure “disappointing” yet “understandable” due to a tough economic and regulatory climate. The Norwegian oil major said on Tuesday it will pull out of Alaska as its exploration leases in the Chukchi Sea no longer looked competitive. "Statoil's decision to withdraw from the Alaskan Arctic is disappointing yet understandable given current tough economic and regulatory conditions,” Luthi said.

17 Nov 2015

Norway's Statoil to Exit Alaska

Photo: Statoil

Norwegian oil major Statoil said on Tuesday it will pull out of Alaska as its exploration leases in the Chukchi Sea no longer looked competitive.   "Since 2008 we have worked to progress our options in Alaska. Solid work has been carried out, but given the current outlook we could not support continued efforts to mature these opportunities," Statoil exploration chief Tim Dodson said in a statement.   The firm will exit 16 Statoil-operated leases, and its stake in 50 leases operated by ConocoPhillips.     (Reporting by Stine Jacobsen)

20 Oct 2015

Arctic Oil Drilling: Why Does U.S. End It?

Image: An oil drilling rig operated by Royal Dutch Shell ran aground on a pristine wildlife-rich island in Alaska in 2013. Credit: Panda.Org

The Obama administration has taken steps to keep drill rigs out of Alaska's northern ocean for a decade or more. The sudden of turnabouts is attributed to slowing down of economy. The U.S. Department of Interior announced that it is canceling two lease sales and will not extend current leases for companies interested in drilling in the Arctic waters off the Alaska coat. "The federal government is cancelling federal petroleum lease sales in US Arctic waters that were scheduled for 2016 and 2017," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

29 Sep 2015

NOIA Commends Shell’s Efforts Offshore Alaska

Polar Pioneer rig operating into the floor of the Chukchi Sea

“NOIA commends Shell’s efforts in the Chukchi Sea and recognizes the great expense of this endeavor. Their ability to drill without incident this season demonstrates that the Arctic can be safely explored. Shell’s multi-year campaign shows their commitment to providing domestic oil and natural gas to the U.S. and willingness to invest in U.S. jobs. “It is disappointing on a number of fronts that due to a variety of factors, including regulatory constraints and cost issues, Shell has decided to halt their offshore drilling campaign in Alaska. First, the U.S.

28 Sep 2015

Shell Withdraws from Arctic Exploration

Fennica, an icebreaker vessel deployed by Shell in the Arctic (Photo: Arctia Shipping)

Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned its Arctic search for oil after failing to find enough crude in a move that will appease environmental campaigners and shareholders who said its project was too expensive and risky. Shell has spent about $7 billion on exploration in the waters off Alaska so far and said it could take a hit of up to $4.1 billion for pulling out of the Chukchi Sea for the "foreseeable future". The unsuccessful campaign is Shell's second major setback in the Arctic after it interrupted exploration for three years in 2012 when an enormous drilling rig broke free and grounded.

17 Aug 2015

NOIA Praises US Approval for Shell Arctic Drilling

Randall Luthi (Photo: NOIA)

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Randall Luthi today issued a statement offering his praise of Royal Dutch Shell’s revised Application to Drill in the Chukchi Sea. The Interior Department granted Shell final approval to drill into the oil zone in the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska after the Fennica, an icebreaker the company leases that carries an emergency capping stack, was repaired after suffering a gash in its hull. “Secretary Jewell and the Bureau of…

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