July 23, 2008

U.S. Says Arctic Holds Oil and Gas

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, a report said.

The report, the first U.S. government estimates of energy reserves in the area, could intensify the race for control of the polar regions among the United States, Russia, Norway, Canada, and Denmark, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

The reserves include 90 billion barrels of oil and 1.699 billion cubic feet of natural gas - a larger reserve of gas than is known to exist in Russia, the Financial Times reported.

The extensive Arctic continental shelves may constitute the geographically largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on earth, the USGS said.

The push to claim rights to the Arctic's natural resources includes Russia planting a flag on the ocean floor under the North Pole last August. In May, Denmark called for the five nations to re-commit to the rules established by the United Nation's Law of the Sea Convention, which governs territorial waters, the Times reported.