Canadian Polar Commission and US Arctic Research Commission Participate in the US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum

Canadian PolarCommission and US Arctic Research Commission Participate in the US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum


Ottawa, Ontario (December 19 2012)

As part of their ongoing collaboration the Canadian Polar Commission (CPC) and the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC) helped organize, and participated in, the Third Biennial US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum held November 13-15 in Anchorage, Alaska.


Commission Chairs Fran Ulmer (USARC) and Bernard Funston (CPC) presented remarks at the opening and concluding sessions of the Forum, which brought together experts from both countries -- key scientists, decision and policy-makers, regulators, industry representatives, and local representatives and other northerners -- to share knowledge, results and collaborative approaches regarding oil and gas research primarily in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The Forum provided an opportunity for participants to discuss knowledge gaps, current and future research priorities, access to research, and the links between research and informed decision-making toward sustainable oil and gas development that will benefit northerners.


In her opening remarks, Ms. Ulmer reminded the audience that "safety should be the core priority in oil and gas development," and that "the uniqueness and vulnerabilities of the Northern environment require us to do business differently, using a high level of expertise to make it all work." Mr. Funston noted that "Canada and the US share this unique environment, and initiatives such as the Canadian-led Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment have generated effective collaborations between our two countries." He also reminded the participants of the importance of the Aboriginal and local perspectives expressed throughout the forum's discussions.


Importantly, access to and incorporation of indigenous traditional knowledge was discussed throughout the forum. Both Commissions agree that, while the significance of indigenous traditional knowledge is now broadly accepted, there remains a need to create and improve a reliable and trusted system to gather and effectively use it.


In their concluding remarks, both chairs stressed the importance of the research community's ability and capacity to adapt to a fiscal world with shrinking research funding. Research institutions on both sides of the border will need to work together, in a coordinated fashion, to maximize research funding and use knowledge gaps to establish science priorities.


Both also agreed that by taking a coordinated and mutually reinforcing approach to northern oil and gas research, "we can promote social and economic development across the North, while still protecting the region's environmental heritage - which has no borders."


In conclusion, both the CPC and USARC commit to working together to provide guidance and assistance to each country's institutions in ensuring that results-based research continues to generate pertinent knowledge towards informed resource development decision-making.


In anticipation of a full report from the 2012 Forum, a brief initial joint summary of some of the key points and conclusions heard by the Forum's Organizing Committee is attached.

For more information, please contact

Dr. David J. Scott

Executive Director

Canadian Polar Commission

(613) 943-8605

Dr. John Farrell

Executive Director

US Arctic Research Commission

(703) 525-0113

Information pertaining to the Third US-Canada Northern Oil and Gas Research Forum can be accessed at the US North Slope Science Initiative Web site: