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Circumpolar Oil & Gas Prospects: The Role of the Commons

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Parker, Walter
Conference: Joining the Northern Commons: Lessons for the World, Lessons from the World
Location: Anchorage
Conf. Date: August 17-21, 2003
Date: 2003
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2215
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Former Soviet Union
North America
Subject(s): IASC
energy industry
arctic regions
income distribution--comparative analysis
Abstract: "Massive efforts are underway in almost all parts of the Russian Federation to bring production from that country to levels above those enjoyed in the Soviet era. In Canada and Alaska less vigorous efforts are underway, primarily focusing on natural gas. The European Union and Japan are looking to the Russian efforts to lessen their dependence upon the Middle East, where more instability is expected by most nations. Enormous investments have been made by western oil companies in the Russian Federation in the past three years, once assurance was received there would not be a repeat of the ruble crash of 1998. "This development will take place under a very different regime from the great oil developments of the Soviet era, not only due to the major changes in governmental structure and economic philosophy, but also because of the involvement of the western companies on a major scale. These lands are held in common ownership between the central government and the many regional governments that make up the Russian Federation. Many of the regional governments are largely controlled by the indigenous people they are formed around. Others are controlled by Russians who have been in the region for various periods, in some cases several centuries. "With the lessons of the Middle East and how the handling of the commons there led to nationalization in two decades, it is critical that similar patterns are not followed in the Russian Federation. The experience of the State of Alaska and the U.S. Government in the handling of federal and state commons for oil development can be instructive. A comparison with the somewhat different model developed in Canada will offer further insights. "This paper will examine how the political and economic needs of stakeholders in Alaska and Canada are being handled and examine to the extent possible those in the Russian Federation with emphasis on local populations, especially indigenous peoples. Not only the areas where oil is produced but those impacted by major transportation systems will be examined for what they promise to return to those most impacted by development."

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