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Among the greatest uncertainties in future energy supply is the amount of oil and gas yet to be found in the Arctic. Using a probabilistic geology-based methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey has assessed the area north of the Arctic Circle. The Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) consists of three parts: (1) Mapping the sedimentary sequences of the Arctic (Grantz and others 2009), (2) Geologically based estimation of undiscovered technically recoverable petroleum (Gautier and others 2009, discussed in this presentation) and (3) Economic appraisal of the cost of delivering the undiscovered resources to major markets (also reported at this conference by White and others). We estimate that about 30% of the world's undiscovered gas and about 13% of the world's undiscovered oil may be present in the Arctic, mostly offshore under less than 500m of water. Billion BOE-plus accumulations of gas and oil are predicted at a 50% probability in the Kara Sea, Barents Sea, offshore East and West Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. On a BOE basis, undiscovered natural gas is three times more abundant than oil in the Arctic and is concentrated in Russian territory. Oil resources, while critically important to the interests of Arctic countries, are probably not sufficient to significantly shift the current geographic patterns of world oil production. Copyright 2011, Offshore Technology Conference.
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U.S. Geological Survey circum-arctic resource appraisal