Artic Oil

HANNOVER (Own report) – The German government’s Agency for Geological Studies and Natural Resources (BGR) is intensifying its exploration for Arctic oil and gas deposits with a new exploration trip to the Arctic Ocean. “Deliveries of natural resources from countries in the Arctic” – i.e. Russia and Norway – are “of great importance” to Germany, the BGR declared. It is very inconvenient that the prediction of the volume of Arctic resources is based only on unreliable estimates. This research institute is, therefore, consolidating its exploration of the mineral resources of the Arctic Ocean, into a new research program. The melting of the polar cap could soon allow these resources to be profitably exploited. Within the framework of the natural resources policy offensive launched by the German government around eight years ago, the BGR has been intensifying its activities for German industry. The BGR, which has long since been closely linked to the German business community, founded, in 2010, the Agency for German Resources (DERA) which now serves German industry directly. The BGR sees itself in the undaunted continuation of the institutions in German Empire and the Nazi period.

Arctic Energy Resources

Last week, the Federal Agency for Geological Studies and Natural Resources (BGR) set out on a new research cruise to the north of the Barents Sea. The expedition will venture unusually far northward, reaching the 83° latitude – where measurements and geological samples will be taken. The objective is to learn more about the Arctic oil and gas deposits. This research cruise, scheduled to last until mid-September, is the first in the framework of the BGR’s “Potential Analysis of European North Sea and the Neighboring Marginal Seas of the Arctic” (“PANORAMA”) priority program. This program is designed to consolidate all of the BGR’s research in energy resources in the Polar Sea.[1]

For Politics and Business

The BGR benefits from the fact that it has been exploring the Arctic since the 1970s. It was later, heavily concentrating on the Arctic’s deposits of natural resources and had presented detailed studies on the polar region’s mineral resource potentials. Most recently, BGR researchers completed a Spitsbergen rock sample series, “to investigate the hydrocarbon potential of the Arctic sedimentary basin,”[4] and launched a field work expedition to the Canadian Arctic in June, “to gather information on possible mineral deposits.” Not far from their area of the expedition, “US Americans have been pumping oil for decades,” reports the BGR. Now, rock samples are also to be gathered in the Canadian Yukon Territory, to enable “estimates of possible hydrocarbon potentials.”[5] The BGR explains that the interest behind the exploration activities of these research projects is to be able to “make data available to political and business specialists.”[6]

Supply the Industrial Base

According to the November 26, 1958 founding decree of the German Ministry of Economics establishing the BGR, the primary task of this research institution is “to provide economic and geological advice to the German government and industry on natural resources,” thereby serving “particularly the long-term assurance of a supply of energy and natural resources to Germany’s industrial base.”[7] This high level federal authority’s financing was raised to nearly 76.8 million Euros in 2013, coming from the portfolio of the Ministry of Economics and Technology in the national budget. The BGR staff has grown to 765 employees. On its board of trustees, alongside numerous distinguished geologists, are representatives from companies with a vested interest in natural resources, including RWE and BASF-subsidiary Wintershall. The board of trustees has an advisory capacity for the Minister of Economics, and is chaired by a member of the Board of Executive Directors of the K+S Stock Corporation, headquartered in Kassel.

Individual Natural Resources Research

Over the past few years, parallel to the government’s natural resources offensive and the adoption of a German Natural Resources Strategy ( reported.[8]) – the BGR has intensified its focus on supporting individual private German companies. In 2010, for example, it founded the Agency for German Resources (DERA), which opened an office in Berlin last year. DERA, according to its own account, seeks to become “the central information and advisory platform on mineral and energy resources for the German economy.” To this end, it carries out “individual research on particular resources,” making an “evaluation of price risks” and, if necessary, even undertaking research on “new resource producers and suppliers, right up to evaluating mining projects.”[9] In July 2012, it concluded a cooperation agreement with the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) to reinforce its collaboration with industry. The cooperation with the DIHK was explicitly concluded under the motto “Assuring the Supply of German Natural Resources.”

High Level Federal Authority with Tradition

The BGR, a high level federal authority, within the portfolio of the Ministry of Economics and Technology, explicitly views itself in an undaunted continuity with institutions of the German Empire and the Nazi period. According to its website, the Royal Prussian Geological Institute founded in Berlin in 1873 could serve as the first of its “predecessor organizations,” which – renamed in 1919 – continued its work during the Weimar Republic under the new name, the Prussian Geological Institute. In 1939 it became the Reich’s Office for Geological Survey, which then in 1941 became the Reich’s Office for Geological Research. Already in 1945, according to the BGR, the first “attempts at reorganizing” the state geological service were undertaken in the former Hannover branch office of the Reich’s Office, which, in 1950, resulted in the formal establishment of the Office for Geological Research, from what was left from the Reich’s Office for Geological Research., The transformation into what is today the BGR followed in 1958.[10] And like the BGR, its predecessors had supported German industry with geological research in its expansion – throughout all stages. ( reported.[11])

Full article: Artic Oil (German Foreign Policy)

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