Arctic waters are a hotspot for emerging risks. We have tough ice conditions, possible new transport routs, oil and gas reserves, unresolved regional disputes and military strategic areas. Each of these conditions has unique and new challenges difficult on their own, combined they pose a daunting task that no one really take responsibility for and some won’t let anybody else meddle in.
Taking use of the arctic treasures (in all their forms) for many nations and organizations important, others are more skeptical. There are therefore several different tests performed to see how viable the wanted operation is. Big oil companies are testing the possibility to effectively tap in to the resources without too much cost; it is however unclear what demands we should put on the operation because we don’t know enough about the hazards. A few, but increasing, number of ships test the northern route between Europe and Asia every summer. It seems to be working, but there is no support if anything goes wrong and something will!
Russia has of course identified (and to some extent initiated) the changes. They have an interest in using these changes to their advantage, as any nation in their situation would.
Living in northern Europe I also see positive aspects in this change, but the amount of activity unleashed is frightening, especially considering how little we know!