Keep in mind that this will mostly be a problem for the West and not Russia, who insisted it will forge ahead with developing Arctic oil and gas despite sinking prices and sanctions.
Oil companies have eyed the Arctic for years. With an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil lying north of the Arctic Circle, the circumpolar north is arguably the last corner of the globe that is still almost entirely unexplored.
However, the first month of 2015 has darkened Arctic dreams even further. Oil companies are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to deal with a collapse in oil prices, now below $50 per barrel. With virtually every upstream company around the world slashing spending, it is the highest-cost and riskiest projects that are getting scrapped first.
Statoil, the semi-state-owned oil company from Norway, has been an offshore leader and Arctic pioneer. After having watched Shell fumble its Arctic campaign, Statoil put its drilling plans off the coast of Alaska on ice. But now with rock-bottom oil prices, Statoil has even shelved Arctic drilling plans in its own backyard. Bloomberg reported on January 29 that Statoil does not plan on drilling in the Barents Sea this year. It also let several Arctic exploration licenses off the coast of Greenland expire.
In December, Chevron suspended its drilling plans in Canada’s Arctic indefinitely.
In Russia, Arctic dreams are also going to disappoint, although for different reasons. Last year, Rosneft – operating in conjunction with ExxonMobil – announced a major discovery in the Kara Sea. Rosneft’s Igor Sechin said that the field could hold as much as 730 million barrels of oil. “This is our united victory, it was achieved thanks to our friends and partners from ExxonMobil, Nord Atlantic Drilling, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, Baker, Trendsetter, FMC,” Sechin said in a statement. “We would like to name this field Pobeda,” the Russian word for victory.
Full article: Arctic Oil On Life Support (Oil Price)