Russia's Rosneft discovers vast new oil deposit on Arctic shelf

Russian oil major Rosneft has announced the discovery of a new oil deposit while drilling at Khatanga Bay in the Laptev Sea in the eastern Arctic. The Ministry of Natural Resources says this could be the largest oil deposit on the country’s Arctic shelf.

“During the drilling of the Tsentralno-Olginskaya-1 well from the shore of the Khara-Tumus Peninsula on the shelf of the Khatanga Bay of the Laptev Sea, three core samples were taken from depths of 2305 to 2363 m, which showed high oil saturation dominated with light oily fractions,” the company said in a statement.

The potential of the newly-discovered deposit has yet to be verified, the company said.

“On the basis of primary studies, it can be concluded a new oil field has been discovered, the volume of the resource potential of which is increasing as the drilling continues. Core sampling continues at the moment,” a statement from Rosneft said.

Russian Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy congratulated the company on the discovery and said this could be the largest oil deposit in the Russian Arctic.

"Now we expect more discoveries from our colleagues. They promise to cheer up the sector soon," Donskoy posted on Facebook.

Sámi concerned about Arctic railway plans

By Thomas Nilsen

Tiina Sanila-Aikio says no Sámi people have been invited to discuss the new Rovaniemi-Kirkenes railway that will run straight through their traditional reindeer herding areas.

Industry and regional politicians praise the idea to build a 500 km railroad from northern Finland to Norway’s Barents Sea coast. Sami people, though, are concerned that such railroad would go through their land without regard for their rights.

«The railway will go through such areas that are very important to Sámi people, the people that are practicing their traditional livelihoods, especially fishing and reindeer herding. If we have a railway, it will separate areas from each other and practicing Sámi traditional livelihoods would be very difficult,» says Tiina Sanila-Aikio, President of the Finnish Sámi Parliament.

Sanila-Aikio is Skolt Sámi, the indigenous peoples living in the border areas between Finland, Norway and Russia. 

New report destroys prime argument for Arctic Refuge drilling

Trans-Alaska oil pipeline will operate for decades without oil production from federally protected areas

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline,  The Wilderness Society today released a report that debunks one of the primary arguments allies of the oil industry have put forward to promote drilling in one of America’s last pristine, untouched landscapes: Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Today’s report documents that oil from the refuge and parts of other ecologically important, federally protected regions in the U.S. Arctic—such as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the Arctic Ocean—is not needed to ensure long-term, trouble-free operation of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which began operating on June 20, 1977.

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Flow: Doing Just Fine After 40 Years negates the claim that the refuge’s fragile coastal plain and other federally protected areas in the Arctic must produce oil to keep the pipeline operating.

Insight into complicated Arctic cloud processes

The Arctic has changed at a faster rate than the rest of the planet. Clouds impact the surface energy budget and, thus, the melting or growth of land- and ocean-based ice. Many Arctic clouds are "mixed phase," consisting of both ice and liquid particles simultaneously. Correctly predicting the partitioning of mass and transitions between these two phases is vital for understanding cloud impacts on Arctic climate. Why? Because ice particles and liquid droplets scatter and absorb solar and infrared energy in substantially different ways. A team found that the large-scale motion of air masses that have different aerosol concentrations and humidity is a major influence on the clouds' phase. Also important were smaller-scale processes that influenced how long an ice particle stayed lofted in the cloud

Climate Change Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic

By Craig Welch

Temperature changes around the globe are pushing human pathogens of all kinds into unexpected new areas, raising many new risks for people.

He'd gone for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, whose warm waters, it turned out, would soon kill him. The 31-year-old man arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas three days after his dip in the Atlantic. Crushing pain was radiating from his new calf tattoo—an image of hands clasping a cross along with the phrase "Jesus is my life." He had a fever, and dangerously low blood pressure. Black blisters appeared around his ankles. His kidneys and lungs began shutting down. Gangrenous tissue splotched his hips and toes. Within two months, he was dead.