Comprehensive polar bear study gets underway in the Arctic

Comprehensive polar bear study gets underway in the Arctic

29 August 2014

The Arctic Research and Design Centre, a joint project of Rosneft and Exxon Mobil, and the Marine Mammal Council, have signed an agreement to study polar bears in areas of potential hydrocarbon production. 


The expedition to the Arctic Seas, conducted on the research vessel Akademik Treshnikov, got underway in August and will last until the end of September. 


The ship is currently in the Laptev Sea, heading to the De Long Islands in the East Siberian Sea. Researchers have begun studying the waters in the Laptev Sea, the Kara Sea, the East Siberian and Chukchi seas, which had been licensed out to Rosneft for hydrocarbon production.  


The expedition’s main objective is to conduct a comprehensive study of the polar bear. Zoologists have already managed to obtain a biopsy from some polar bears, hoping to assess the impact of environmental changes on the animals. In addition, special collars were put on the bears, equipped with satellite transmitters to help trace their distribution in the areas of study.


Researchers have also installed 45 drifting buoys to monitor the movement of icebergs in the glacier regions not far from the northern island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and the islands of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago. The buoys will allow researchers to continuously monitor the location of icebergs and determine their trajectory. In addition, experts have conducted aerial and radar surveying of the glaciers from which icebergs are formed. This will help them create 3D models of the glaciers and analyse their productivity.


The comprehensive data collected by the researchers will be used to plan economic activity in the Arctic shelf and to develop environmentally friendly hydrocarbon production technology in the Arctic.