March 21, 2014

"...cost of reactivating the [icebreaker] Polar Sea for seven years to 10 years was estimated at about $100 million"

Bloomberg "In recognition of the increasing possibility of oil exploration in Arctic waters, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has introduced a bill to increase the Coast Guard's ability to prevent and respond to offshore oil spills." By Alan Kovski

'“With the Arctic opening up new opportunities for development and shipping, the Coast Guard needs to be better prepared to support increased activity in the region,” Begich said in a March 17 statement.

'“My bill provides the Coast Guard with greater resources, including stronger ice breaking capabilities, vessel tracking and improved oil spill response and recovery abilities,” the senator said. “The U.S. is an Arctic nation and it's time that we commit serious resources to the region and start acting like one.”

'An upsurge of oil production from the Arctic offshore isn't imminent. The slowness of preparatory steps and the obstacles of litigation over environmental analyses recently caused Royal Dutch Shell Plc to cancel its 2014 exploration program.

'Along with Shell, the companies holding leases in the Chukchi Sea since a 2008 lease sale are ConocoPhillips Inc., Spanish company Repsol S.A., Norwegian company Statoil, Italian company Eni S.p.A. and OOGC America Inc., a unit of the China National Offshore Oil Corp.

'The Obama administration's offshore leasing program for 2012-2017 placed Alaska offshore lease sales near the end of the five-year period to allow more time to evaluate the areas that are environmentally sensitive.'

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