Making oil and gas extraction in the Arctic more sustainable is a continuous process. The aim is to prioritise and reduce environmental pressures. In addition local communities that are potentially affected have to be consulted. IMARES Wageningen UR conducts research on this topic and maps these environmental pressures, with a number of Dutch companies, NGOs, governments and research institutes.
Arctic and deep sea
It is important to look at the whole chain says IMARES researcher Bas Bolman in an interview with the magazine Maritime Innovation of June 2013. For all operations in the exploration and production of oil and gas the potential impacts on the ecosystem should be known. What are the emissions to air and water? What does this mean for the flora and fauna and the local population?
The ecosystems of the Arctic and the deep sea are relatively unknown. Therefore there is a lack of knowledge on how sensitive ecosystems are for the pressures of oil and gas activities.
More impact studies needed
There is little knowledge of cause-effect relations in food-webs and the amount of pressure that ecosystems can handle. More effect studies are therefore needed. Before activities are started it should be clear where and how sustainable exploitation and production is possible with an acceptable pressure on the system.