The Arctic Oil Threat

The Arctic Oil Threat

Letters to the Editor: Wildlife conservation is pointless without taking on the fossil fuel industry

A guest comment, Feb. 2

The following letter was sent to the editor of The Independent from Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, in response to an “opinion” column titled “The fight to save the Arctic” by a resident of Whitehorse, Yukon.

The letter is printed in full below.

Peter Gleick,


The Pacific Institute

Whitehorse, Yukon

Feb. 2, 2012

Dear Mr. Gleick:

In my article for The Independent, “The fight to save the Arctic,” published February 3, 2012, you expressed the opinion that the oil industry is the largest threat to Arctic wildlife. With all due respect, that is false.

On a recent trip to Norway, I heard of a conversation with a researcher about the environmental threat of Arctic oil: “We are losing millions of dollars of oil that we now use.”

The researcher stated that the Norwegian oil company Statoil does not use oil to make its crude, but to make products. He said Statoil uses 1.6 gigatonnes (Gt) of crude oil a year. That is the equivalent of taking approximately 1,550 passenger vehicles off the road every year for 10 years.

I know this for a fact. I visited Norwegians with firsthand knowledge that oil industry is using crude oil to manufacture petroleum products. On a recent trip to Norway, I was told, “We have 3 Gt of oil left, and we are using 2.7 Gt.”

The Norwegian oil company Statoil, as you know, is the world’s largest oil producer, and the fifth largest oil company on the planet. The company has a history of extracting oil from North Sea and Arctic regions.

Statoil was established in 1938, and it has three generations of leaders, including former Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, who was the company’s general manager for 30 years. In 1997, Statoil was privatized, and then sold to Royal Dutch Shell in 2001. Now, for

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