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Scientists of the Federal Research Center for Integrated Arctic Studies of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have proved that processes on the mid-Ocean ridges of the Arctic Ocean affect the seismic activity of the Arctic shelf, Novaya Zemlya and the north of the East European Platform, and this activity should be taken into account when developing minerals and building engineering facilities, said Galina Antonovskaya, Head of the Department of Seismology.

The phenomenon is caused by the spread of tectonic stresses that create an additional load in the lithosphere. The process is called deformation waves or "perturbation transmission". "These processes can serve as a trigger of seismicity. The disturbance moves and activates the process of releasing seismic energy. As a result, one area becomes more seismically active, then another," Antonovskaya said.

At the same time, earthquakes occur where there are some weakened areas: faults or discontinuous disturbances. The source of deformation waves are tremors in large tectonic faults in the earth's crust, which are characteristic of mid-oceanic ridges, where the process of pushing apart lithospheric plates occurs.

Galina Antonovskaya explained that there is not much data on the seismicity of the Russian part of the Arctic. To understand the processes that occur in the earth's crust, it is necessary to develop a network of seismic stations. Information about possible earthquakes is needed to build maps of seismic zoning. Such documents indicate the maximum possible earthquake intensity for a given area. There are several types of maps: for mass construction, for objects of increased responsibility and especially responsible objects, and separately for nuclear facilities.

During the extraction of hydrocarbons on the shelf, so-called induced seismicity may occur - that is, the extraction of oil or gas leads to the occurrence of earthquakes. "For example, in the North Sea, when active hydrocarbon production began at Ekofisk (Ekofisk is a gas and oil field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, 350 km northeast of the village of Teesside), an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 occurred," Antonovskaya noted. - The bottom has settled, and huge funds have been invested in restoration work, including well repairs. Oil platforms were raised to avoid flooding and a special concrete wall was built to protect the oil storage from waves."

It is also necessary to take into account the possibility of earthquakes when laying pipelines along the bottom of the Arctic shelf. "Even a small earthquake in intensity, but occurred in the area of laying the pipeline, can lead to its rupture. An ecological catastrophe is inevitable," she added. "Therefore, it is important to study in detail from a seismological point of view the nature of each earthquake that occurred in the Russian sector of the Arctic, in order to avoid negative consequences after the start of oil production."

During the Arctic exploration in 2021, Rosneft drilled six stratigraphic wells in the Laptev Sea for the first time in the history of scientific research and selected 415 m of core, the company said. The study of these samples will bring the country new knowledge about the geology of the region, experts hope. Expeditions organized by the company to study polar bears, Atlantic walruses, wild reindeer and white gulls will help preserve their populations.


Exploration of the subsurface
In 2021, Rosneft drilled six stratigraphic wells with a total depth of 840 m and selected 415 m of core. Representatives of the company told about this at a press conference dedicated to the results of the Arctic field season in 2021. The ship "Bavenit" worked in the Laptev Sea near the islands of Kotelny and New Siberia. It is unique in equipment and the only drilling vessel of its kind in Russia.
- Especially for this expedition, "Bavenit" was retrofitted with innovative equipment of domestic production, which makes it possible to improve the accuracy and quality of stratigraphic drilling (relatively shallow and not damaging to the environment. - "Izvestia"), - said Rosneft.
Now the extracted rock samples are transferred to the non-governmental Institute of development "Innopraktika" for laboratory studies, which will be held on the basis of the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University. Rosneft noted that thanks to the extracted core, geologists have the opportunity to look into the past for tens of millions of years.
Next year, work on stratigraphic drilling is planned to continue in the Chukchi Sea. The first deep-water studies in the Arctic Ocean will also be conducted.
"Scientists expect to receive new unique data on the geology of the Russian Arctic, which are extremely important not only for Rosneft, but, without exaggeration, for the entire world science," the company stressed.
The region is rather poorly researched, Dmitry Alexandrov, head of the Analytical Research Department at Univer Capital IC. And research using the latest equipment and modern technologies can really be very fruitful from the point of view of science, he agrees.


Arctic biodiversity
Within the framework of the national Ecology project, Rosneft has also committed itself to conduct a corporate program for the study, conservation and monitoring of polar bears, Atlantic walruses, wild reindeer and white gulls until 2023.
— In 2021, the second large-scale field season of this program was completed — four expeditions to the Arctic regions were conducted, thanks to which it was possible to obtain new data on the population of the studied species, - the company noted.

The collected data on the number, distribution, condition and behavior of animals speak about the current state of the Arctic ecosystem and will be useful for studying the impact of climate change and anthropogenic impact on animal life, Rosneft concluded.

As the chairman of the Public Council under the Ministry of Natural Resources Alexander Zakondyrin noted, the company pays great attention to environmental issues, as well as measures to preserve the biological diversity of species in its area of responsibility, when carrying out its production activities. Therefore, taking care of the environment can be called an integral part of the company's corporate culture, he told Izvestia.
Rosneft is implementing a comprehensive long-term scientific program in the Arctic, which includes geological, hydrometeorological and environmental studies, work is being carried out with the country's leading scientific and design organizations in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Alexander Zakondyrin stressed.

The Greenland government has announced a ban on oil exploration in the vast Arctic territory. The decision was made in the interests of fishing and to focus the economy on the real potential of the autonomous territory.

"This is a logical step, since the government takes the climate crisis seriously. This decision was also made in the interests of our nature, in the interests of our fisheries and to focus our economy on real potential," said Greenland's Minister of Natural Resources Naai Nathanielsen.

It is reported that the main offshore exploration campaign conducted by the Scottish company Cairn Energy in 2010-2011 did not lead to discoveries, and two oil strategies that previous governments have presented since 2014 failed to attract companies.

In April 2021, parliamentary elections were held in Greenland, in which the opposition left-wing party Inuit Atakatigiit received the majority of mandates. In accordance with the pre-election promise, the Government is currently consulting on a bill banning uranium exploration and production in Greenland. The island of Greenland, 80% of which is covered with ice, has significant natural resources – oil, gas, gold, diamonds, uranium, zinc and lead, but the development of natural resources is fraught with significant difficulties, including due to poorly developed infrastructure and numerous bureaucratic obstacles.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin instructed the ministries (the Ministry of natural resources, the Ministry of economic development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of energy) to submit tax incentives for exploration in the Russian Arctic by mid-December. The list of instructions is published on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers.

According to the document, the ministries must submit to the Cabinet of Ministers by December 14, 2020 "agreed proposals for tax incentives for subsoil users to conduct geological exploration in the Arctic of the Russian Federation".

By December 18, they were also instructed to form proposals to increase the program of complex geological and geophysical work on the continental shelf of the Arctic and far Eastern seas until 2025 to reproduce hydrocarbon reserves. The agencies will have to determine the sources of funding for additional work in 2021-2025, including at the expense of potential subsoil users

Earlier, the Prime Minister said that the Cabinet of Ministers is preparing a program for the provision of land plots "Arctic hectare "by analogy with the program"far Eastern hectare". The Prime Minister noted that obtaining land in the far East under the profile program was in demand. According to the calculations of the presidential envoy to the far Eastern Federal district Yuri Trutnev, the process of obtaining a hectare in the far Eastern Federal district takes 32 days, Mishustin said.