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Johan Vold

Johan Vold, managing director of the Oslo Energy Forum, speaks about opening the Arctic to oil and gas drilling during the Houston Shipping & Offshore Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. (Emily Pickrell/Houston Chronicle)

Melting Arctic easing access to fossil fuels

More direct northern sea routes may be opening up in the Arctic, as the melting of the ice has made previously unnavigable routes a growing possibility for large ships, including tankers carrying oil and gas, an expert said Wednesday at the Third Houston Shipping and Offshore Conference.