As climate change renders the Arctic increasingly accessible, there has been a substantial uptick in industry interest in the region; it is believed an estimated $100 billion could be invested in the Arctic over the next decade. The Arctic contains vast oil and natural gas reserves—the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic could contain 1,670 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas and 90 billion barrels of oil, or 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13 percent of oil. Energy companies are certain to be at the forefront of Arctic development and investment.
Climate change has played an important role in expanding access to the Arctic region, although there have been fewer opportunities to access lower cost oil and gas plays. As conventional production has declined, industry has had to focus more on difficult-to-access and unconventional oil and gas plays throughout the world, including those in the Arctic. Exploration and development in the Arctic requires expensive, tailored technologies as well as safeguards adapted to the extreme climatic conditions. In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident, there have been additional costs associated with emergency response and containment requirements.
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