The Arctic offshore will be drilled; it’s only a matter of time. However, the dream to have commercially viable production in the immediate future may very well be dead. Continually slumping oil prices are the primary suspect, but they don’t tell the whole story of what is a complex demise.
The Arctic is awash in hydrocarbons. It is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels (bbl), or 13 percent, of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil – 30 bbl are thought to reside in Alaska’s Arctic region. The figure is even higher for the world’s undiscovered conventional natural gas at 30 percent, the majority of which lies in Russia’s West Siberian and East Barents Basins. In all, 84 percent of the Arctic’s undiscovered oil and gas is believed to occur offshore.