The opening of the Northern sea routes will create major opportunities for the exploitation of natural resources in the Arctic areas.
Climate change is melting the permanent ice in the Arctic region, opening the way for commercial sea traffic in the Arctic Ocean and the search for underwater riches. It is estimated that as much as a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources are located in the Arctic areas.
Finland has unique Arctic know-how, for example in the shipbuilding industry, according to Tero Vauraste, CEO of the Finnish company Arctia Shipping which provides icebreaking services. About ten new vessels will be required for the Arctic areas in the coming years. Existing icebreaker vessels can also be utilised in oil pollution control and by the oil industry. Arctia Shipping Ltd has chartered out its multi-purpose icebreakers Fennica and Nordica to Shell Offshore for three summer months. They will operate in the Beaufort Sea and the Chukchi Sea.
Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Prometey Research Institute in St. Petersburg are jointly developing a steel alloy that can withstand a temperature of minus 80 degrees. According to Professor Jukka Martikainen, the nanotechnology used in the development of the steel alloy makes it possible to reduce friction directed on a vessel and to improve the strength and durability of the metal.
The latest developments in the shipping industry will be discussed at the 8th annual Arctic Shipping Forum held at the Scandic Continental Hotel in Helsinki on 24-26 April 2012. The Finnish Meteorological Institute also offers various ice, weather and marine services that are useful for transport companies operating in the Arctic areas.
Source - Finnish Meteorological Institute