This article gives an overview of the hard security issues in the Arctic from the perspective of NATO. Magnus Nordenman, Deputy Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security considers NATO’s interests in the region, as well as the Russian build up of military capabilities. In the current age of geopolitical competition, the Arctic is set to play a prominent role.
China’s growing interest in the Arctic is analysed by security consultant David Scott in this article. China’s interest is firstly in commercial shipping as new routes open up, but should also be seen in the context of its growing power and strategic reach. China plans to ‘make itself heard’ in military and economic aspects of the Arctic and its presence will only increase in the future.
China is used as a case study for commercial shipping in this article by Professor Frédéric Lasserre from Laval University and covers the use of the Arctic for High North shipping trade. COSCO undertook trial runs in 2013, but other shipping firms have been less enthusiastic. Costs to use the new routes may be prohibitive, at least in the short term, despite the public rhetoric surrounding Arctic shipping.
Captain David (Duke) Snider
Recent events in polar shipping are covered in this article by David Snider, CEO Martech Polar. Ice conditions in the north continue to vary, so Arctic ship traffic has yet to meet expectations. The region still garners commercial interest, and a number of ice-class vessels are on the order books. Capabilities are increasing, but as several high-profile accidents have shown, risks for shipping remain.
Maritime security threats and challenges arising from offshore oil and gas exploration and production in the Arctic
Aside from commercial shipping, it is offshore oil and gas in the Arctic that is receiving significant attention. Mikhail Kashubsky from Charles Stuart University looks at the maritime security threats and challenges in this article. Oil and gas reserves in the Arctic may be substantial, but it is unlikely to be a major producer in the near future due to high costs and concerns over pollution, activism and even tensions between regional states.