A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey concludes that there are substantial untapped oil and gas reserves in the Arctic, perhaps amounting to as much as one-fifth of global supply. As the NYT reports:
Oil companies have long suspected that the Arctic contained substantial energy resources, and have been spending billions recently to get their hands on tracts for exploration. As melting ice caps have opened up prospects that were once considered too harsh to explore, a race has begun among Arctic nations, including the United States, Russia, and Canada, for control of these resources.
The geological agency's survey largely vindicates the rising interest. It suggests that most of the yet-to-be found resources are not under the North Pole but much closer to shore, in regions that are not subject to territorial dispute. . . .
The assessment, which took four years, found that the Arctic may hold as much as 90 billion barrels of undiscovered oil reserves, and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This would amount to 13 percent of the world's total undiscovered oil and about 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas.