All those things are very nice, but they all have a price tag and I sometimes have a feeling that people like to forget that. I am not talking about the price of environmental destruction. I am talking about hard cash that needs to be fronted in order to make this thing run. Doing anything in the deep Arctic is not the same as doing it in toasty Texas with its roads, communities, telecom networks and a home market to match. Russia is running out of easy to develop reserves so they need to cut into those but when one needs to employ accounting tricks and a bag of tax breaks in order to make ends meet, one asks himself how long this is going to last. And this is a question that Europe should ask loud and clear as one day, Russia will want to make money or else.
The young reindeer herder took a deep breath in the frigid Arctic air as he pondered an existential question: Has the unprecedented push to unlock oil and gas wealth in Russia’s Arctic helped or harmed his people?