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Author Biography

Since 2000, Peter Johnston has been a Defense Scientist conducting Strategic Analysis for the Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, a part of Defense Research and Development Canada. Previously, he was an infantry officer in the Canadian Forces, gaining experience in operational and non-operational environments. He holds an M.A. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. He has conducted energy security research for ten years, examining topics including the link between oil and conflict in Africa, nationalization, the threat posed by terrorism on oil and gas infrastructure, Arctic energy geopolitics, and energy security more broadly. He has been published in conference proceedings and journals including Baltic Rim Economies the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies and Pomorskiego Przeglądu Gospodarczego (Pomeranian Economic Review). He has presented his research at events in North America and Europe.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1944-0472.5.3.2

Subject Area Keywords

Environment, sustainability and security, Geography, Global trends and risks, International relations, Natural resources and security

Abstract

In recent years, there has been considerable interest in the Arctic as a source for resources, as a potential zone for commercial shipping, and as a region that might experience conflict due to its strategic importance. With regards to energy resources, some studies suggest that the region contains upwards of 13 percent of global undiscovered oil, 30 percent of undiscovered gas, and multiples more of gas hydrates. The decreasing amount and duration of Arctic ice cover suggests that extraction of these resources will be increasingly commercially viable. Arctic and non-arctic states wish to benefit from the region's resources and the potential circum-polar navigation possibilities. This has led to concerns about the environmental risks of these operations as well as the fear that competition between states for resources might result in conflict. Unresolved offshore boundaries between the Arctic states exacerbate these fears. Yet, the risk of conflict seems overstated considering the bilateral and multilateral steps undertaken by the Arctic states to resolve contentious issues. This article will examine the potential impact of Arctic energy resources on global security as well as the regional environment and examine the actions of concerned states to promote their interests in the region.

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