"Clearly ExxonMobil — according to its reading of the sanctions law — had to depart the field," Conley told VICE News. "Time will tell if Russian companies can develop these resources without the technological expertise of Western companies and the backing of international finance."
'I'm not surprised ExxonMobil walked away from their partnership with Rosneft because there's no reason to believe that in Russia their property rights would be secure.'
Environmental groups have opposed offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, however, citing concerns over potential spills, which would be especially difficult to manage in the remote region."The plan to extract oil at a depth of about 100 meters, amid an ice-free period of only four months, in an area with icebergs and storms, which is surrounded by vulnerable protected wildlife — sounds absolutely crazy," Vladimir Chuprov, head of Greenpeace Russia's energy unit, told VICE News.Rosneft's drilling permits, he added, overlap with several important nature reserves, among them the Russian Arctic National Park and Wrangel Island, a UNESCO heritage site.The amount of area covered by sea ice during the summer months in the Arctic has decreased by about 12 percent per decade since the late 1970s and temperatures in the region have increased at twice the rate as the rest of the world.
'In the US we underestimate the importance of Arctic economic development to Russia's future — not just to energy production but also to shipment.'