An oil price slump and cheaper commodities, including iron ore, together with tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine, are adding new disincentives.
Examples of extra outlay abound. Ice-breaking tankers able to carry gas from Siberia cost $100 million, or 50 percent, more than normal vessels and hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to upgrade railways serving Arctic ports.
Added to that, for many companies, winter darkness, ice and vast distances mean that Arctic investments are a non-starter.
"There is a need for a reality check by the business community," Norwegian Shipowners' Association head, Sturla Henriksen, told Reuters at an Arctic business conference he hosted this month in Bodoe, a Norwegian Arctic port.
More on this story can be read on the Reuters website.