It may be summer, but if you work in the oil industry, you might be thinking about the Arctic. That's because this region could represent more than a possible source of oil: it could be the next major playing field for shipping companies, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

That article notes the way major players in energy may be able to devise a new route around the continent of Asia that is safer and less risky than some of the others previously used, all thanks to shrinking ice caps. 

Now, the article also notes that traveling along the northern coast of Russia, through the Arctic Sea, is not without its problems: for one, it has a much shorter window of time where travel would be feasible, especially when compared to the Suez Canal route that's accessible all year round.

And if multiple nations get interested in increasing traffic in this area, as it seems they already are, it could compound the danger posed by icebergs, not to mention strengthen the need for high performance boat insurance.

An article for Forbes on the attention being paid to Arctic energy potential quotes an ExxonMobil consultant named Jed Hamilton, who recently drove home the importance of Arctic energy exploration at a conference in Moscow.

"The Arctic offers tremendous potential to meet future global energy demand and we need to do this safe and responsible fashion," he said, although he cautions against drilling more than 100 meters in that region without "serious ice management programs."

If this is truly the way that things are going, then offshore oilfield consultants will almost certainly need the right insurance protections to keep themselves covered.

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