Why we are not ready for an open Arctic
By Andreas Østhagen
The starting point for regional governments is a desire for economic development and prosperity. Whether the end-goal is economic independence or sustaining higher levels of income, this has led some Arctic regions pursuing natural resource development at a rapid  pace. How the regions promote such interests in their interaction with federal/national governments that are not always as pro-development, arguably determines  much of the actual pace of offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic.

Three cases of Arctic offshore developments in North America – the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska; the Beaufort Sea off the Northwest Territories in Canada; and the waters  around Greenland of the Realm of Denmark – highlight the relationship between regional interests and their respective systemic constraints and can help us understand the role of regions,  an important dimension of Arctic oil and gas development.

Regions in the North American Arctic
Looking beyond overarching international trends related to price levels, technology and ice-melting, this study analyseswhat influences specific development of offshore oil and gas in the Arctic. A key dimension in focus was the interests of those actually  living in the areas in question, represented through their respective regional governments, as this factor is often neglected or understated in current Arctic research literature. Consequently, the following question must be asked: what role do regional interests have in the process of developing oil and gas in the North American Arctic?