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The Arctic This Week October 26 - November 1, 2015

By Mieke Coppes, Doris Friedrich, Seth Myers and Ryan Uljua November 4, 2015



Photo: Malte Humpert, Bodø, Norway


Welcome and thanks for joining us this week! We hope that you find TATW interesting and entertaining to read. If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can sign up here. As always, all editorial choices, opinions and any mistakes are the authors’ own. Anything that we missed? Please feel free to share material with us if you think it deserves inclusion in TATW.


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In this year’s Arctic Yearbook, TAI’s Marc Jacobsen discusses the power of collective identity narration in Greenland and the way to a more autonomous foreign policy. What are the central elements of this narrative? And what role do external threats play? Read the article here.


The Arctic Coast Guard Forum was officially established last Friday at the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. Some have argued it can serve as an arena to tackle security dialogue with Russia, at a time when other channels have been abandoned. Yet, there are certain constraints with regards to coast guards and their roles and mandates in the Arctic. In turn, what will this Forum aspire to accomplish? TAI’s Andreas Østhagen examines the challenges, the big tasks, and the small solutions here.




The upcoming European Geoscience Union General Assembly (EGU 2016) conference will be held in Vienna (Austria) from April 17-22, 2016. TAI’s Kathrin Keil co-convenes a session on ‘Arctic Ocean and Cryosphere in Rapid Transition’. Abstracts can be submitted from now on until January 13, 2016. For more information check out EGU’s website or reach out to Kathrin.




Arctic Alaskan oil sector finally gets some positive momentum, thanks to ConocoPhillips

Despite low global oil prices and Shell’s decision to pull out of the Arctic, there’s some positive news finally coming out of Alaska’s North Slope, where new production efforts are humming along, led by ConocoPhillips (AJC). Early last week, ConocoPhillips’ North Slope CD5 drill site in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) began producing oil, marking the first commercial oil development project in the NPR-A (PN). Also amid last week’s developments, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved ConocoPhillips’ drilling permit and right-of-way for its Greater Mooses Tooth (GMT-1) project in the NPR-A, about eight miles west of CD5 (AJC). While neither the CD5 or GMT-1 projects are expected to have massive production rates, their approvals set an intriguing regulatory precedent for the federally-owned, 23-million-acre NPR-A region (PN).


BarentsObserver Dealing with Uncertain Future

The BarentsObserver will no longer be updated in its current form (BO). One can only assume that this is related to the recent conflict between BO’s editorial staff and its owners (BO). The conflict stemmed from a recent owners’ assembly where a proposal prohibiting editorial independence was approved (BO). Former BarentsObserver Editor Thomas Nilsen has since begun publishing articles at a new site, The Independent Barents Observer (IBO).


Learning About Residential Schools will now be Required in the City of Yellowknife

Since the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came out earlier this year, Yellowknife has deemed it necessary that all staff receive education on the history of the First Nations, including treaties and the residential schooling system. The move follows the publication of the Commission’s final report, which called for further education for public servants. The educational program should be created in the next couple weeks (CBC).


Hunger is a Real Problem in the North, but the New Liberal Government Promises Relief

The price of food in the Canadian North is extremely high and only increases during the winter when transportation costs skyrocket, leading to a hunger rate 6 times higher than the rest of Canada. Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has promised an extra 40 million dollars for the Nutrition North food program. But will money be enough to change the food crisis? (Reuters).


Canadian diamonds are(n’t) forever

Canada’s usually-strong diamond industry has taken a beating in 2015 as a result of low global diamond prices (Reuters). In N.W.T., the epicenter of Canada’s diamond industry, exploration spending has been slashed by over 50% this year. The primary culprit behind the dip in global diamond prices is believed to be lower-than-expected demand for diamonds in China.





First Past the Pole: Harper, Trudeau, and Canada’s Arctic Values (TAI).

Feature Interview: The politics of climate (EOTA).

Notley cabinet shuffle adds ‘insult to injury,’ says opposition (NORJ).

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation gathers input in Yellowknife (CBC).

Vice tax hikes pay part of the new ‘Alberta way’ (NORJ).

What does Trudeau victory in Canadian election mean for the Arctic? (AD).

Disabled advocates quit city committee, citing slow progress (YN).

Nunavut minister says social assistance review coming soon (NN).



Greenlanders Are Not Likely To Be Represented in Integration Councils in Denmark (NRT).

Foreign politics is local (AJ).

Norwegian-Russian cooperation flourishes in the Barents Sea (NHH, in Norwegian).

Sámediggi budget slams next year (NRK, in Norwegian).

701 asylum seekers to Storskog (NRK, in Norwegian).


United States

Feds roll out another $20 million in rural funding grants for Alaska (AD).

Murkowski criticizes Obama energy policies in weekly GOP address (AD).

A Changing Arctic Presents Incredible Challenges and Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples (Indian Country).




Faroe Islands going green? Not so fast say scientists & skeptics

In last week’s edition of The Arctic This Week we covered Faroese power company SEV’s announcement at the Arctic Circle Conference that the company intends on using 100% renewable energy by 2030 (NORA). Now, scientists and other critics are pumping the brakes on the ambitious plan, claiming that it is infeasible and unrealistic (NORA). Critics point out that while making electricity generation in the Faroe Islands based completely on renewable energy is an admirable--and possibly achievable--goal, the CEO of SEV did not consider what it would take to replace all of the oil-powered ships, trucks, and cars as well as oil-based heating furnaces when he made his initial announcement.



Shell Halts Alberta Oil-Sands Project After Leaving Arctic (Bloomberg).

Shell profits plunge on Arctic drilling retreat and Canadian write-offs (The Guardian).

Shell halts construction on new Alberta oil sands project (Reuters).

Solar panels empower indigenous people in Canada's north (Reuters).

Battered oil patch uncertain (PN).

‘Misery’ in Canadian service sector (PN).

Nunavut yet to join national diesel reduction task force (NN).

Arctic study: Alternative energy a tough sell north of the treeline (NN).



Among the many oil majors that posted quarterly earnings last week was Statoil, whose numbers were surprisingly week, leading the Norwegian giant to announce spending cuts (Reuters).

Aibel clinches Oseberg FEED. Hoping for EPCI too (Offshore Energy Today).



"Rosneft" is looking for a pier in the Arctic (RusMinInfo).


United States

Deepwater Horizon ripples help sink US Arctic drilling: Regulation and Environment (The Barrel).

Royal Dutch Shell reports loss of $7.4 billion in wake of Arctic exit (AD).

Sharp loss for Shell after Arctic exit, lower oil prices (The Rakyat Post).

Oil & gas industry messages Alaska students (EOTA).

Alaska lawmakers debate TransCanada buyout (EOTA).

Gas tax shelved, buyout still on agenda (AJOC).

Utilities advancing transmission co., AEA refining cost estimates (AJOC).

Plan to supply gas to Fairbanks moves toward best, final offers (AD).

Interior Energy Project moves toward best, final offers for supplying gas to Fairbanks (PN).

Legislature ponders TransCanada buyout (PN).

Walker withdraws gas reserves tax from call for special session (PN).

ASRC permitting Placer infrastructure (PN).



Market mechanisms will determine the future of Arctic energy business (Paywall) (Geopolitical-Info).

Is Oil Industry Backing Away From Offshore (MarineLink).

The drillers’ tale: Slumping prices have oil firms scrutinising production costs much more closely (AJ).

Is this a new paradigm for oil prices? (PN).





Earth sciences, climate and weather

Massive avalanche rocks Yukon’s Mount Steele (YN).

Astrophysics - EISCAT on the sky (AJ).

Arctic snow is not becoming dirtier (Nature).

Greenland Is Melting Away (NYT).

Russian media take climate cue from sceptical Putin (Reuters).

Strong earthquake hits in Aleutians; no reports of damage (AD).

Russia's first static meteor observing station is opened in Siberia (ST).

The weather on the plateau is no longer right (NRK, in Norwegian).

Greenland's ice: the key to understand the pace of global climate change (NORA).

Arctic Norway: Climate change at Ground Zero (WWLP).

Scientist mixes humor, bleak predictions in explaining Arctic woes (Rapid City Journal).

Video: Scientists say the Arctic could be ice-free by 2030 (Vancouver Sun).

Despite Warming, Landsat Reveals Decadal Slowdowns on Greenland Ice Sheet (NASA Landsat Science).

Cryosat tracks Arctic sea ice freeze-up (BBC).


Wildlife and ecology

The great Arctic experiment (Science).

Slaughter of unique seals living in Lake Baikal (ST).

Ocean currents are a source of waste in Arctic (NRK, in Norwegian).

'Garbage patches' of marine plastic have reached the Arctic Ocean (AD).


Environmental management

Nunavut government irks Arviat MLA, hikes WHB polar bear quota by only 4 (NN).

WWF strengthens cooperation with Arctic actors in the Nuuk office (KNR, in Danish).

Locals want to know why they lose the right to dispose of natural treasures (NRK, in Norwegian).

Whose Arctic Is It? The Ethics of Arctic Campaigning (World Policy Blog).

NWT wants GN to cut Bathurst caribou harvest in western Nunavut (NN).


Research and university news

GN awards contract for Nunavut university feasibility study (NN).

Science, high-tech, guide Nunavut’s Canadian High Arctic Research Station (NN).

Arctic-Antarctic Challenge – crowdfunding possibility for researchers (UArctic).

2nd call for presentations: Arctic Indigenous Education Conference 2016 (UArctic).

UArctic Congress 2016: Call for Session Proposals (APECS).

Coast Guard icebreaker returns south after pioneering North Pole trip (AD).


Archaeology and history

Archaeology - A race against the climate (AJ).

Ice age lion cubs found in Siberian permafrost (AD).

Ancient Alaska infants' genes suggest ice-age diversity (AD).





United States

Coast Guard wraps up busy season in the Arctic (AD).

Coast Guard anticipates high-tech future with new Arctic R&D center (AD).

Photos: Arctic Shield 2015 (AD).



Canadian rangers program to be reviewed (AD).



On a wing and a share (AJ).

Unknown submarines at stake in Greenland (KNR, in Danish).



Defense minister: Russian Arctic forces to be complete by 2018 (AIR).






Tyhee Gold misses deadline on $5M loan (CBC).

Giant Mine's iconic C-Shaft headframe comes down (Photos) (CBC).

Replacement-style gold found at Yellowknife (NWT) (PN).

Drilling adds to prospectivity at Indin Lake (NWT) (PN).

Klondike drills coarse gold at Eldorado Creek (Yukon) (PN).


United States

Miners gather seeking bright spots on horizon (AJOC).

NANA makes gold strike; work continues amid price slump (AJOC).

State trust appeals DNR decision on Chuitna water reservation (AJOC).

NANA delves into all phases of mining, including in-house gold exploration (PN).

News Nuggets: Hilltop reconnaissance exceeds expectations (PN).

News Nuggets: Miranda inks deal to buy Willow Creek royalty (PN).

House OKs critical minerals bill, again (PN).

Bush stump speech raises mining issues (PN).

Miners wrap up active year in Alaska (PN).


Mining Explorers 2015

North of 60 Mining News published the 7th edition of its annual ‘Mining Explorers’ special, covering in detail the past year of mining exploration activities in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut through a series of articles. Read the introduction here. The rest of the special edition articles can be found below:

Mining Explorers 2015: Miners weather stormy markets (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: Majors carry Alaska exploration (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: NovaCopper seizes opportunity (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: Exploration mimics world trend (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: NWT exploration dips sharply (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: Nunavut faces bright future (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: Mining spurs growth in Nunavut (PN).

Mining Explorers 2015: Agnico mulls Nunavut strategy (PN).






Cod-awful (AJ).

Trio of Alaska ports lead nation in fish landings (AD).

Mercury levels curb fish consumption in Jean Marie River, N.W.T. (CBC).

One out of nine board members women (NRK, in Norwegian).

Better king runs offset by less harvest on Yukon, Kuskokwim (AJOC).

Inlet ACRs (agenda change requests) denied, board will discuss Kenai meeting site (AJOC).

FISH FACTOR: Second-largest salmon haul doesn’t measure up in value (AJOC).

Russian fishing vessel arrested off Norway's coast (RBTH).



Arctic shipping route through Russia planned by Chinese company (CBC).

Ice-Class Tanker for Russia's Pacific Fleet Laid Down in Vladivostok (Sputnik).

Bureau Veritas and Russian Register to Class Arctic LNG Carriers (Shipping and Marine Events).

Commentary: Arctic Climate Change and Maritime Restrictions (InHomelandSecurity).



Canadian North, First Air beef up western Nunavut routes (NN).

Finnair posts best-ever quarterly result (Yle).

Stop treating air passengers as 'hostages' (ST).



Don’t be a Sval (or a Bard) (AJ).

Arctic cruise industry expands as summer ice recedes (AD).


Other business and economic news

Who owns the Arctic: an introduction (AJ).


U.S. & Canada

The pho empress of Anchorage (AD).

Farmers hoping to save Mat-Su slaughterhouse take activism online (AD).

A Cold War giant makes Arctic transportation history (NM).

Nunavut MLAs ponder $13-per-hour minimum wage (NN).

Liquor shortages causing headaches for licensees (YN).

Macaron-mania: new shop offers more gourmet food options to Whitehorse (YN).

New-wave NWT farming hits Golden Horseshoe (NORJ).

A very ‘nifty’ gardener, this Lam grows like a lion (NORJ).



New meaning to Black Death as smuggled caviar is found stashed in a... coffin (ST).



Iceland chimney sweeps back in demand (AIR).

Norway Oil Fund Lost 273 Billion (TNP).

US defence contractor snaps up Finnish cybersecurity firm (Yle).






Using research that maps out a typical breast cancer journey in the N.W.T., the NWT Breast Health/Breast Cancer Action Group, is going to test a new care plan for those suffering from the cancer in the territory. The new care templates are modeled after similar ones adopted in Alberta and Manitoba and focus on the importance of consistency throughout the healing process (NORJ).

Finland: Health Threat as Wood Heat Gets Popular? (EOTA).



Arctic FOXY is teaching young girls in the Canadian Arctic about sex. In the N.W.T. and Nunavut, where the rate of sexual violence, teen pregnancy, and sexual transmitted diseases are high, there is much room for this type of education (PRI).

Youth Centre in Hay River, N.W.T., Demolished After Years of Disrepair (CBC).

Education Minister Defends Open Letter: "Higher Education Institutions Must Specialise" (Yle).



Women in Fort Providence, N.W.T., are attempting to start a citizen patrol group due to the alleged lack of response from the RCMP to some violent crimes. The woman leading the initiative, which would reportedly be supported by the RCMP, argues that a group of citizens will bridge the gap between residents and police that can often be found in small towns (CBC). Residents in Iqaluit are similarly concerned about crime in their area and have started using social media as one new way to catch criminals (CBC).

How Jean Marie River Took a Stand Against Residential Schools in 1951 (CBC).

Pregnant and Homeless in the Arctic: Housing Crisis Hits Canadian Territory (The Guardian).

Point Hope: The Hunt for Survival as Sea Ice Rapidly Declines (ITV).

Corrections Officials Say Reforms Will Prevent Having to Reopen Prison Farm (AD).

Nunavut Ministers Haven't Discussed Iqaluit Land Shortage (NN).

N.W.T, Yukon, Nunavut have Highest Incarceration Rates in Canada (CBC).

Supreme Court Won't Hear N.W.T. Francophone School Case (CBC).

The Kirov Railway: A Shot of Steel Through Russia's Northwest (Cryopolitics).

Study: Winter Speed Limits in Finland Reduce Accidents (AD).

OECD Warns Finland Over Education Cuts (Yle).

A Toe in the Arctic Ocean: Canada's Northwest Territories on the Looney Front, Part 2 (HP).



The Bootstrap Theatre Foundation explores the story of Luke Cole, who fought with the Alaskan Inupiat against the world’s largest zinc mine, in a new play called “Arctic Requiem: The Story of Luke Cole and Kivalina”. The show manages to meld contemporary history and a deeper view into the Inupiat way of life using a character known as Raven, who represents a creator spirit (SFGate).

In Contrast to McCandless, Scotsman Adapts to Alaska Bush (AD).

Slave of the Arctic: the Extreme Weatherman Living in A Timewarp (The Guardian).

Welcome to Umnak, a Land of Cows that Assault the Senses (AD).

Painter Ted Harrison Celebrated in Children's Book (CBC).

Moving the Plot Along (AJ).

These Ice Cellars Fed Arctic Peoples for Generations. Now They're Melting. (NG).

Photos From a Perilous 464- Day Sled Journey Across the Frozen Arctic Circle (Atlas Obscura).



Frotten Reaches Second Final at World Championship (YN).




United States

Study on Arctic Port for Drilling Support Ships Put on Hold (ABC).



Devil’s in the details with new fibre line (YN).

Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway project management questioned by Tuk residents (CBC).

Yukon to build fibre optic line along Dempster Highway to N.W.T. (CBC).



Bike shortage stems flow of migrants using Arctic route to Europe (Reuters).




Abbreviation Key

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)

Aftenbladet (AB)

Alaska Business Monthly (ABM)

Alaska Dispatch News (AD)

Alaska Journal of Commerce (AJOC)

Alaska Native News (ANN)

Alaska Public Media (APM)

Arctic Info (Russian) (AIR)

Arctic Institute (TAI)

Barents Nova (BN)

Barents Observer (BO)

Bristol Bay Times (BBT)

BusinessWeek (BW)

Canadian Mining Journal (CMJ)

Christian Science Monitor (CSM)

Eye on the Arctic (EOTA)

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (NM)

Financial Times (FT)

Globe and Mail (G&M)

Government of Canada (GOC)

Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)

Huffington Post (HP)

Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN)

Johnson’s Russia List (JRL)

Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa (KNR)

Lapin Kansa (LK)

Maritime Executive (MarEx)

Moscow Times (MT)

National Geographic (NG)

Natural Gas Europe (NGE)

Naval Today (NT)

New York Times (NYT)

NORA Region Trends (NORA)

Northern Journal (NORJ)

Northern News Service Online (NNSO)

Northern Public Affairs (NPA)

Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI)

Nunatsiaq News (NN)

Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ)

Ottawa Citizen (OC)

Petroleum News (PN)

RIA Novosti (RIAN)

Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH)

Russia Today (RT)

Voice of Russia (VOR)

Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

Washington Post (WP)

Whitehorse Star (WS)

Winnipeg Free Press (WFP)

Yukon News (YN)






























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