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Polar hydrocarbon technologies: future developments

By John Yates, Paul Cunningham and Denis Smith

Abstract

This paper addresses the physical and technological difficulties inherent in the extraction of marine hydrocarbons in the polar regions. The factors are then analysed to assess the potential for the transfer from the Arctic to the Antarctic of current and emerging systems of technology. The paper begins with a review of the physical environment of the polar regions, and the technology currently employed in the Arctic, for hydrocarbon exploration. It then analyses the problems concomitant with the transfer of current and emerging technologies in the Arctic to the Antarctic. The paper is purely speculative, the authors fully concur with the terms of current Antarctic Treaty which does not allow the extraction of any resources for at least 50 years, and would hope to see this extended if possible.

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