Trillions of dollars of natural resources waiting to be developed in the Arctic
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According to a 2008 assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “the total mean undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources in the Arctic are estimated to be approximately 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.”17 The overwhelming majority of these resources—84 percent—is expected to occur in offshore areas. Over 70 percent “of the mean undiscovered oil resources is estimated to occur in five provinces: Arctic Alaska, Amerasia Basin, East Greenland Rift Basins, East Barents Basins, and West Green- land-East Canada.”18 Similarly, over 70 percent “of the undiscovered natural gas is estimated to occur in three provinces: the West Siberian Basin, the East Barents Basins, and Arctic Alaska.”19 Arctic Alaska, the Amerasia Ba- sin, and the North Chukchi-Wrangel Foreland Basin provinces, portions of which could be claimed by the United States, account for over 40 million barrels of oil, 284 billion cubic feet of natural gas, 6.5 million barrels of natural gas liquids and 94 million barrels of oil and oil-equivalent natural gas.20 The value of these resources is estimated to be in the trillions of dollars.21
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arctic region is the largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on earth with an estimated ninety billion barrels of undiscovered oil reserves, and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In addition, the unpredictability of the Persian Gulf region makes the Arctic region even more attractive for exploitation.