According to recent reports, the Arctic Circle might be sitting on about 90 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves. That’s more than all three of the planet’s largest crude oil reserves – Kazakhstan, 39.8 billion barrels; Nigeria, 36.2 billion barrels; Mexico, 12.2 billion barrels – combined.
The survey, published today by the US Geological department, was compiled by a collaborative effort between geologists representing the governments of the U.S.,Canada, Norway, Denmark, and Greenland. Studies released by the International Energy Agency estimated that global crude oil consumption in 2008 will top off at 86.85 million barrels a day, with the U.S. alone accounting for about a third of those barrels.
Projections like that have oil companies spanning the globe chomping at the bit to pop the Arctic’s cherry, but the United Nations is presenting a significant – ahem – “block”. According to mandates outlined by the UN, countries are prohibited from making “resource claims” more than 200 miles offshore, thus rendering the Arctic Circle the “preacher’s daughter” of potential energy sources – for now.