The Arctic Energy Center has spoken numerous times about the resource potential of the far North. The estimates for U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are staggering for both oil and natural gas, with upwards of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But because sometimes it can be difficult to grasp the full magnitude of these numbers , the infographics below show how the Arctic’s resource potential stacks up against the known reserves in top oil and gas producers around the world.
According to the National Petroleum Council’s 2015 report, the U.S Arctic alone holds around 35 billion barrels of oil in conventional resource potential. Globally, the Arctic Circle is estimated to contain 90 billion barrels of oil.
For perspective, let’s compare the Arctic’s resource potential with the reserve estimates of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas.
As you can see in the infographic below, the resource potential in the Arctic, 90 billion barrels of oil, is equivalent to 339 percent of America’s reserves and 110 percent of Russia’s. In other words, that’s the massive amount of oil discovered in the U.S., multiplied by THREE.
Similarly, the Arctic Circle is also estimated to contain massive gas reserves. The USGS estimates that 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids exist in the Arctic Circle.
If the Arctic were to be considered a country unto its own, it would top lists ranking countries according to their resource potential. As global demand for energy is expected to continue increasing in the coming years, the Arctic’s abundant energy resources will play a significant role in meeting the needs of future generations – and in strengthening energy security around the world for decades to come.