31 Jul '13, 6pm

A war over #Arctic oil...400 years ago. via @IISS_org

With all the hyperbole in the media – and sometimes in the halls of power – about a race for control of resources in the Arctic (it is estimated that the region holds 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30% of its gas), it’s interesting to note that we’ve been here before. The first time a vast new source of oil was discovered in Arctic, just in time to replace declining reserves elsewhere, warships were dispatched and there was fighting among forces from at least four nations over control of the resources and the land-based facilities needed to exploit them. It was exactly 400 years ago this summer, and the oil came from bowhead whales. These had been found in large numbers in the bays of Spitsbergen and the other islands of the Svalbard archipelago, just as the long-standing Basque right whale (so named because whalers thought they were the ‘right’ whale to hunt) fis...

Full article: http://www.iiss.org/en/politics%20and%20strategy/blogsect...

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