The Frankencities Project reveals the disastrous scenes of future cities gone wrong. This week, we highlight the emergence of 'New Orenburg.'
Perhaps the "Peak Oil" idea -- that we are doomed to run out of affordable commercial fossil fuels before long -- is so completely mistaken that by the mid 21st Century it might be but a quaint faded memory. By then, the oil and gas fields of the Arctic and Antarctic will have been opened up. This will be made commercially feasible due to the warming of these areas and the subsequent melting of the ice sheets-- making the development of oil and gas reserves much easier.
Presently, the Antarctic continent is protected by a two mile thick ice sheet. And also by the Antarctica Treaty (which forbids oil exploration). By late this century, though, the ice sheets will have greatly subsided, opening up the Antarctic lands and seas to the possibility of resource exploration. The Antarctic Treaty is also scheduled to lapse in the 2040s—perhaps foreboding an Antarctic land grab.
And so, here presented is a new city in Antarctica; 'Orenburg of the South', perched on Antarctic rocks exposed by the withdrawn ice cap.
Initially set up by a Russian gas company, the town was supposed to provide a homely and steady environment for workers and their families on the ice sheets but it quickly becomes just another industrialized gas-extraction and oil prospecting facility perched in the Southern Ocean.
The name takes after the Russian city Orenburg, a frontier town set up in the Ural mountains in the late 18th century by the Russian Empire as it pushed to conquer the Asian continent. Nowadays, Orenburg in Russia, has a population of half a million and calls itself the Gateway to the East. 'Orenburg of the South' will have a population of maybe ten-thousand and will call itself the Gateway to the South. It's rightly labeled a 'Frankencity' since it also ushers in environmental crisis for the Southern Ocean, complete with oil spills, gas explosions, and massive industrial pollution.