American energy development in the Arctic is central to U.S. national security, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) has been a pillar of American domestic energy for almost 40 years. Energy security is fundamentally intertwined with national security due to how energy powers our country and economy.
The following reports and studies give details on how America’s domestic energy supply from future offshore Arctic development is critical to our national security.
State of American Energy (2016)
Failure to harness the energy potential in the Alaska offshore region today could have significant consequences for the nation’s long-term energy security. The world’s largest remaining conventional, undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves – estimated at 13 percent of recoverable oil and 30 percent of recoverable natural gas resources – await development in the Arctic. Estimates indicate the Beaufort and Chukchi seas have more technically recoverable oil and natural gas than the Atlantic and Pacific coasts combined – with the Chukchi Sea alone home to 29.04 billion barrels of oil equivalent, according to 2006 government estimates.
American Petroleum Institute
Sustaining Military Operations in the Arctic-The U.S. cannot do it alone (2012)
For a number of reasons, the Arctic region is seeing an increase in maritime activity and there is significant potential for that increase to continue in the future. While the present U.S. military role in the Arctic is limited, strategic and operational level leaders within the U.S. have recognized, that as Arctic activity increases, so too will the requirement for a U.S. military presence in the Arctic. The military does not currently have the capabilities which will be needed to conduct sustained operations in the Arctic. The author has identified several capability gaps which would limit the military’s ability to sustain operations in the Arctic. While long term solutions do exist, they would require substantial economic commitments by the U.S. Government.
Naval War College
Realizing the Potential of North America’s Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Resources (2011)
This study came to four conclusions about natural gas and oil. These findings can help guide the nation’s actions. First, the potential supply of North American natural gas is far bigger than was thought even a few years ago. Second – and perhaps surprising to many – America’s oil resources are also proving to be much larger than previously thought. Third, we need these natural gas and oil resources even as efficiency reduces energy demand and alternatives become more economically available on a large scale. Fourth, realizing the benefits of natural gas and oil depends on environmentally responsible development.
National Petroleum Council
The geopolitics of Arctic Melt (2009)
The prospect of longer ice-free periods in the Arctic has momentous implications for the region’s commercial development, which risks further melting of the Arctic ice. In a 2009 report the United States Geological Survey (USGS) postulated that over 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids are located in the Arctic (84 per cent of which could potentially be found in offshore areas). With longer ice-free periods now available to explore for hydrocarbons, a new scramble for oil and gas could occur, especially if oil prices recover to levels above $100 a barrel.
The Brookings Institution
Arctic Meltdown (2008)
The Arctic region is not currently governed by any comprehensive multilateral norms and regulations because it was never expected to become a navigable waterway or a site for large-scale commercial development. Decisions made by Arctic powers in the coming years will therefore profoundly shape the future of the region for decades. Without U.S. leadership to help develop diplomatic solutions to competing claims and potential conflicts, the region could erupt in an armed mad dash for its resources.
Council on Foreign Relations
Offshore Oil and Gas Governance in the Arctic: A Leadership Role for the U.S. (2014)
The Arctic is changing and increasingly drawing the world’s interest. Perhaps the promise of this vast region was best summarized by former Secretary of State George Shultz, when he said that the opening of the Arctic is the greatest event in human history since the coming of the ice age. In the Secretary’s view the exploitation of the Arctic will open a whole new ocean for human activity and knowledge, with the region’s vast energy, mineral and marine resources fueling technological innovations no less revolutionary than the impact of the discovery of the Pacific on the Old World.1 The importance of this region in terms of climate change, world fisheries, new transportation corridors, and prospects for growing economic activity as the sea ice melts in response to rising CO2 emissions, mandates that all nations will have an interest in this region for years to come.
The Brookings Institution
The New Foreign Policy: CHARTING our future U.S. interests and actors in the Arctic (2013)
Crafting U.S. policy toward the Arctic, however, is a complex and challenging undertaking. Arctic policy must respond to the economic, environmental, security, and geopolitical concerns that confront the region. When the Barack Obama administration came into office in January 2009, it accepted and left unchanged the recently adopted Arctic strategy of the George W. Bush administration. In its second term, it is now time for the Obama administration to enhance U.S. Arctic policy by updating and prioritizing National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25 (NSPD-66/HSPD-25), improving interagency cooperation, enhancing U.S. international and public diplomacy related to the Arctic, and increasing the focus of senior U.S. officials. These activities must begin now if the United States is to prepare for and fully maximize its chairmanship of the Arctic Council beginning in 2015.
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The National Strategy for the Arctic Region (2013)
The National Strategy for the Arctic Region sets forth the United States Government’s strategic priorities for the Arctic region. This strategy is intended to position the United States to respond effectively to challenges and emerging opportunities arising from significant increases in Arctic activity due to the diminishment of sea ice and the emergence of a new Arctic environment. It defines U.S. national security interests in the Arctic region and identifies prioritized lines of effort, building upon existing initiatives by Federal, state, local, and tribal authorities, the private sector, and international partners, and aims to focus efforts where opportunities exist and action is needed. It is designed to meet the reality of a changing Arctic environment, while we simultaneously pursue our global objective of combating the climatic changes that are driving these environmental conditions.
The White House
USCG- Arctic Strategy (2013)
The United States is an Arctic nation with significant interests in the future of the region. The U.S. Coast Guard, as the maritime component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has specific statutory responsibilities in U.S. Arctic waters. This strategy outlines the ends, ways, and means for achieving strategic objectives in the Arctic over the next 10 years. The Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in U.S. Arctic waters. Our efforts must be accomplished in close coordination with DHS components, and involve facilitating commerce, managing borders, and improving resilience to disasters.
United States Coast Guard
The Future of the Arctic: A key to Global Sustainability (2012)
The Arctic will become the major supplier of energy to the world, in particular oil and natural gas, and natural resources such as mineral water. This report advocates that the Arctic Council needs to take measures to avoid exploitation.
The Risk Institute
Climate change and commercial shipping development in the Arctic (2012)
The Arctic ice is receding, as ice extent in the summer is decreasing fast, faster than models predicted. The perspective of an ice-free Arctic in the summer is looming, with talks of riches to be exploited (oil, gas, minerals) and seaways developing across it between Europe and Asia. The perspective of a dramatic development in Arctic shipping triggered the debate in Canada as to how to assert Canada’s sovereignty so as to protect the environment.
Laval University, Canada
Arctic shipping routes; From the Panama myth to reality (2011)
Fast-receding summer sea ice in the Arctic has been documented and making the headlines since 2007. The phenomenon has triggered speculation about the opening of much shorter sea routes linking Europe via the eastern North American coast to Asia.
Laval University, Canada
The Fast-Changing Maritime Arctic (2010)
The maritime Arctic continues to experience a steady pace of development and expansion of marine operations. During the past year, a record number of vessels transited the Northwest Passage, and several milestone operations occurred in the Russian Arctic. Affecting all commercial and naval operations, and of particular importance to planners of future ventures, is the recent observed decline of the Arctic Ocean’s sea-ice cover, as well as its year-to-year variability. While this historic retreat and climate-change impacts on the Arctic received global attention, the realities of the region’s natural-resource development and greater commercial use have gained higher profiles in political discussions.
U.S. Coast Guard
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress (2010)
The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened concerns about the region’s future. Issues such as commercial shipping claims and Arctic sovereignty claims could cause the region to become an arena of international cooperation, competition or conflict in upcoming years. Decisions that the US government make could significantly affect national interests. This report provides an overview of Arctic related issues that the US government needs to act upon.
Congressional Research Service
Arctic Offshore Technology Assessment of Exploration and Production Options for Cold Regions of the US Outer Continental Shelf (2008)
This study delivers an assessment of oil and gas technology that may be applied to cold regions of the United States Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Advances in harsh environment offshore exploration and production technology have made it economically and technically feasible for projects to proceed in ice-covered waters. This study assesses the current state of offshore technology in arctic and sub-arctic regions. The results of this assessment are then used to provide insight and guidance into existing/future exploration and development technologies that might be applied on the US OCS, in particular those areas in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering Seas. The work covers exploration structures, bottom-founded and fixed production concepts, floating production concepts, terminals, pipelines and subsea facilities, and also touches on other technologies that might be relevant to Alaskan OCS exploration and development.
IMV for American Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement