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Oil spill management in the Arctic

06 August 2008

Managing oil spills in the Arctic is difficult due to the vulnerability and remoteness of the environment.
If a spill should occur the ice in the water can make the area inaccessible, furthermore, clean-up technologies have yet to be fully tested. Due to the extremely cold conditions, oil takes much longer to break down leaving arctic creatures such as polar bears at risk.

Oil spill management in the Arctic
Oil spill management in the Arctic

Global warming is causing the melting of polar ice caps, making the Arctic region more accessible. Yet climate change may also result in rougher sea conditions, due to ice caps no longer preventing storms creating high waves. Therefore, any gas facilities built around the arctic need to consider this fact.

Therefore, it seems sensible to concentrate on methods of prevention rather than clean-up techniques. Governments and oil companies are developing stringent safety standards to minimise risks of spills. However, before techniques are developed and suitable standards are in place it might be worthwhile delaying any further explorations.

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