Kapitel: 5 → Forschung, Gefährdungen und Schutz

5.7 → Die Nutzung von Öl- und Gasvorkommen in einer nahezu eisfreien Arktis

Manfred Lange (The Cyprus Institute (CyI) Energy, Environment and Water Research Center

Summary: The utilization of oil and gas reservoirs in a nearly ice-free Artic:

The exploitation of arctic hydrocarbons represents on the one hand a significant, as yet largely untapped energy reservoir and on the other a potentially dangerous source of contamination of marine ecosystems.

Similarly –and prompted by an increasingly retreating summer sea ice cover- enhanced shipping activities may pose significant environmental risks to the sensitive Arctic marine ecosystem. The spillage/leakage of oil in ice-covered-, but also in ice-free waters is of particular importance in this regard.

Sea ice and the low air- and water temperatures reduces the natural degradation of oil and lead to an extensive distribution of contaminated ice in the Arctic Ocean as a result of ice drift and ocean circulation. Sea ice offers a unique habitat for especially adapted sea ice communities.

These communities are of significant importance for the entire arctic food chain and are particularly vulnerable to oil contami­nation. Natural degradation processes are slow in the Arctic compared to mid-latitude conditions. Oil-combat technologies utilizing bioremediation through the provision of nutrients that enhance natural biodegradation processes have therefore been developed in recent years.