Counting the Cost

The new cold war: The race for Arctic oil and gas

We explore Iceland’s plans for the Arctic region, Turkey’s ailing economy, and Ethiopia’s booming opal trade.

The Arctic, which is believed to contain as much as one-quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil is part of a massive territorial dispute.

The United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Iceland are all laying claim to the area, with each country eager to tap into the oil, 30 percent of the earth’s natural gas, and resources such as diamonds, gold and iron.

In August, Russia submitted a bid to the UN claiming a territory thought to hold $30tn worth of oil and gas.

Meanwhile, Canada has been scrambling to defend its territory against the US arguing that it is sovereign Canadian water, not an international waterway.

Amid the Arctic land grab, Iceland has also seized the opportunity for exploration.

Vanishing at 13 percent a decade, the melting ice is expected to make drilling, mining and shipping easier.

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Iceland’s foreign minister, joins Counting the Cost to discuss Iceland’s plans for the Arctic and protecting the region from climate change.

ISIL’s toll on Turkey’s economy

Turkey’s economy is on a worrisome course with its local stock market and currency continuing to decline.

Hit by political uncertainty, unable to form a coalition government, and becoming ever more involved in the chaos in neighbouring Syria, Turkey’s economy has been dealt a series of blows.

Just a few years ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party were almost unstoppable, both politically and economically. So what happened?

Erhan Aslanoglu, a professor at Marmara University, joins the programme to discuss Ankara’s economic downturn.

Ethiopia’s opal mining boom

The Ethiopian highlands are often called “the roof of Africa”.

A rugged, breathtakingly beautiful landscape, the discovery of opals in recent years has got precious gem experts around the world excited.

The industry currently generates around $25m a year and has led to Ethiopia being ranked among the five fastest growing economies in the world.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford went to the Wollo district in the country’s northeast, an area generating a lot of interest among gemstone experts.