Large and important discoveries of petroleum were made in northern Alaska in 1968. The reserves were estimated then to be perhaps as much as ten thousand million barrels. Subsequent exploration has shown the resources to be much greater than was estimated earlier. Many problems must be solved before petroleum from northern Alaska reaches the world's markets. These problems are of three types: 1, those related to exploring, developing, and operating under the physical environments of the region; 2, those having to do with people-both the native people and those brought in from lower latitudes-and 3, those concerning the protection of the natural environments. The problems are great, but so also are the reserves of petroleum. To the extent that the problems are not solved, the cost of development and operation will be higher, the use of people will be expensive and unsatisfactory, and the natural environments will be threatened. The whole effort could be jeopardized on those grounds. ?? 1970.