The future of the Arctic almost certainly involves a new resource economy as the region looks to be the world’s next great energy store. There have been a number of significant new exploration leases in the Canadian and American Arctic offshore areas, which point to future development. Nations such as South Korea are also developing new ice capable commercial oil and LNG vessels. The Russians are already using such means to operate their Northern oil and gas facilities and planning their expansion. In North American such developments may play a role in how gas and oil is ultimately shipped south – i.e. by pipeline along the Mackenzie Valley or via tanker.
Along with Asian states, the European Union and others are increasingly looking at the Arctic as an area of interest. While the circumpolar states would prefer to operate within the existing legal framework, others would prefer to expand the system to give influence in the management of the Arctic to non-Arctic states.
Canada must take all this transformation into consideration and work to develop new policies that are safe and sustainable and fair.
– Dr. Robert Huebert, Board member, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary and a senior research fellow with the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, taken from his speech at North2030 , 2009