Warm arctic will increase availability of key resources including minerals and oil
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One future change in the Arctic region is greater accessibility to, and availability of, natural resources, including offshore oil and gas, minerals, and fisheries. The Arctic contains 10 percent of the world’s known petroleum reserves and approximately 25 percent of its undiscovered reserves.18 The U.S. exclusive economic zone has a potential thirty billion barrels of oil reserves and 221 billion cubic feet in natural gas reserves.19 Minerals available for extraction in the Arctic include manganese, copper, cobalt, zinc, and gold. Coupled with a rise in global demand for natural oil and gas resources and improved accessibility, the Arctic has become a new focus for oil companies looking for untapped resources. Already $2.6 billion has been spent on active oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea.20 Yet the extraction of these minerals and petroleum reserves depends heavily upon development and deployment of resilient technology that can function in such harsh conditions, marked by lack of infrastructure and long distances to markets.
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.