Can the Arctic ease the world's energy needs?

Regional distribution of Arctic oil and gas resources (Data source: Statistics Norway, 2011)
Regional distribution of Arctic oil and gas resources (Data source: Statistics Norway, 2011)

Debate has been rife over the scramble for Arctic riches since a survey in 2000 estimated the Arctic could hold nearly one quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources. Can the oil and gas consuming nations, with their growing energy needs, draw comfort from these new and tempting prospects? Or is it still too soon to count on this potential new source of abundant energy?

OIL EXPLORATION in the Arctic began on a small scale in the 1920s. Successful operations started four decades later. Today, the oil majors such as BP, ExxonMobil and Shell, and some state oil and gas companies such as Gazprom and StatoilHydro, all hold Arctic assets in their portfolio.

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