Development of the Arctic is a hot topic around the world and is the subject of international conferences--forums that take place each year. Last May in Anchorage, World Trade Center Alaska, along with the Institute of the North, conducted the inaugural Arctic Ambitions Conference. The gathering concentrated on the theme of international trade and business opportunities that flow from development of the Arctic.
Working from a context of who stands to benefit most--which regions, countries, industries and companies--presenters addressed issues such as international supply chains, markets, commerce, marine transport and other subjects associated with Arctic development.
While policy and research informed the discussion, the conference concentrated on global markets, international trade and decision-making. Discussion was framed by several key Arctic industries. It addressed the two-way nature of exports and imports in the Arctic.
It's not just a question of what Arctic nations can develop and export--equally important is who has a market for those resources. Government officials and business executives from Canada, Finland, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia and the United States participated in the conference and discussed their roles as development unfolds in the region.
With the accelerating rate of polarice melt, massive natural resources are becoming accessible in the Arctic. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, one-quarter of the world's undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources may be in the Arctic: oil (90 billion barrels); natural gas (1.7 trillion cubic feet); and natural gas liquids (44 billion barrels). Resource exploration in the Arctic requires significant technical assistance. For example, Arctic Shipping, a Finnish operator of an icebreaking fleet, provides service and support of offshore oil and gas exploration. The company's icebreakers are capable of supporting offshore drilling rigs in Alaska and...