London, Sep 6(ANI): One of the world’s leading polar scientists has warned that any serious oil spill in the Arctic, which is oil exploration’s ‘new frontier’, is likely to be lead to an uncontrollable environmental disaster and thus affect its vast areas.
According to the University of Cambridge’s Ocean Physics Professor Peter Wadhams, oil from an undersea leak in the Arctic would be absorbed in surface sea ice and thus transported as much as 1,000 miles across the ocean, the Independent reports.
The phenomenon, which was discovered in large-scale experiments about 30 years ago, has revealed that the Arctic oil exploration, which was given a huge boost with a 3.2 billion dollar Exxon Mobil’s investment, is likely to be the riskiest form of oil exploration.
“If there is serious oil spill under ice in the Arctic it will be very hard, if not impossible to stop it becoming an environmental catastrophe. It will be very much harder to deal with than a major spill in open water,” Wadhams said.
The warning comes in the wake of world’s oil companies turning to the Far North for oil supplies as other places across the globe are on verge of exhausting the supplies or they have become harder to extract.
The Arctic Circle’s north area is believed to contain as much as 160 billion barrels of oil, which comprises over a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves.
However, many observers are concerned about the oil spill impact in the extreme conditions, especially in the wake of BP’s leak at the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico last year, which could not be controlled for three months.
“A spill in the Arctic would essentially make dealing with something like Deepwater Horizon look almost straightforward,” Greenpeace Polar Campaigner Ben Ayliffe said.
“There are problems with ice encroachment, the remoteness of the Arctic, darkness, extreme weather, deep water, high seas, freezing conditions and icebergs. Basically it would mean that responding to a Gulf of Mexico-style spill off somewhere like Greenland would be impossible,” he added. (ANI)