Student Research

Economic significance and potential of the Northeast Passage for Shipping and Energy Extraction

In recent years, environmental changes have increased access to a series of maritime routes along the Arctic. Of these, the Northeast Passage, located on Russia’s Northern coast spanning from the Novaya Zhelaniya Straits to Cape Dezhnev, has received the greatest interest as a sea route and a potential source of oil and gas extraction. Current projections regarding decreases in the extent of ice in the Arctic estimate that areas that normally would be frozen over are expected to be ice free for increasingly longer times of the year. These changes are exacerbated by the impacts of global warming and its associated effects on the environment that further increase access to the route for shipping and areas for the extraction of oil and gas. Given the passages ability to undercut the time and cost of shipping between Europe and Asia while providing an alternative source for oil and gas, the route is poised to become increasingly more significant and competitive into the future. Despite these potential benefits to the route’s utilization, the route faces numerous challenges such as a lack of supporting infrastructure, limited seasonal operation, difficult environmental conditions, and many more that if not addressed, would greatly inhibit the competitiveness of the route.

GMA 400 - Senior Seminar Research