New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Tim Stephens and David L. VanderZwaag
Chapter 6: Is joint development possible in the Arctic?
The Arctic region, the land and ocean north of the Arctic Circle, may hold some 22 per cent of as yet undiscovered global oil and gas resources. About 84 per cent of these resources are located offshore. Eight states are the main strategic stakeholders in the Arctic region, and five of these states border the Arctic Ocean, several with overlapping maritime claims, including to the continental shelf. The overlapping maritime claims are relevant to a range of maritime uses in the Arctic, including resource development, tourism, navigation by merchant and naval vessels, and the management of the polar ocean environment. Several chapters in this volume address the issue of continental shelf claims in the Arctic, and note that significant work remains to delineate the outer limits of the continental shelf and to delimit maritime boundaries in areas of overlap. To realize the substantial resource development potential of the Arctic Ocean, in a context in which there is disagreement over continental shelf delimitation, joint development arrangements may provide a way forward. Indeed several coastal states in the Arctic region have already pursued some form of joint development arrangement alongside agreement reached on maritime boundaries. Viewed in this light, joint development of extended continental shelf areas would be a continuation of 'business as usual' for Arctic states.
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