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Arctic drilling freeze may interfere with oil and gas licensing

Arctic drilling freeze may interfere with oil and gas licensing

India Blooms News Service | | 30 Dec 2016, 01:43 pm
Calgary Dec 30 (IBNS): In a recent environment friendly move, US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that most of North American Arctic waters would be designated as off-limit for any new exploration including all future oil and gas licensing in Canadian waters, according to media reports.

However, the Canadian government declared that existing licenses would not be affected but no further details were made available.

Currently five oil companies - Imperial Oil, British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and Franklin Petroleum Canada Ltd - have active exploration licenses in the Canadian part of Beaufort Sea, though there is no exploration activity at the moment.

Many of these licenses are due to expire in the next five years, when Prime minister Trudeau has pledged to review his moratorium.

However, companies remain eligible to upgrade their existing licenses and some may even seek extensions, and that's going to be a focal point when dialogue between government and industry will be initiated next year, media reported.

These licenses had been issued in 2012 when crude oil prices hovered around $100 a barrel, nearly double the existing price.

"Companies have been walking away from their leases in the north American market, or seeking extensions of those leases because they cannot justify any expenditure on those leases at current pricing" said Michael Byers, a UBC professor who studies Arctic issues.

In a joint statement with the US, the Liberal Government of Canada ruled out "future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing" but assured that existing permits won't be affected, media reported.

But it didn't specify what would happen next for license holders.

"Current licenses are not impacted and government will determine next steps after consultation with industry and interesed stakeholders," said Sabrina Williams, a spokeswoman for Indigenous and northern affairs minister Carolina Bennett, the lead minister for Arctic Development.

This bilateral declaration has another side to it too.

The terms put forth by President Obama, which applies to the US share of Beaufort Sea, are unclear, which means the path to legal recourse is murky once Donald Trump assumes charge, media reported.

There has been vehement opposition from Bob McLeod, Premier of Northwest Territory, to further extension of any kind if companies with existing licenses apply for that.

Demanding extension of terms of exploration licenses Imperial Oil spokeswoman Killeen Kelly said, "To ensure future oil and gas activities are conducted in an appropriately paced, safe and environmentally responsible manner,.....with respect to existing licenses, we will work to understand the implications to our business if any."

Chevron referred questions to CAPP;  the lobby group ConocoPhillips  declined to comment and BP and Franklin Petroleum didn't respond to queries.

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm