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Mother lode: USGS says 90B barrels of oil in Arctic

Original post made by Jane on Jul 23, 2008

The Arctic may hold 90 billion barrels of oil, more than all the known reserves of Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Mexico combined, and enough to supply U.S. demand for 12 years, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

One-third of the undiscovered oil is in Alaskan territory, the agency found in a study released today. By contrast, a geologic formation beneath the North Pole claimed by Russian scientists last year probably holds just 1.2 percent of the Arctic's crude, the U.S. report showed.Web Link

Comments (16)

Posted by sam, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 23, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Arctic's oil is not intended to replace all the supplies in the rest of world. It would last much longer by boosting available supplies and possibly reducing U.S. reliance on imported crude in the future, if America developed the resources.

The Arctic accounts for about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas and 20 percent of the undiscovered natural gas liquids, the agency said in the first publicly available petroleum resource estimate of the entire area north of the Arctic Circle.

More than half of the undiscovered oil resources are estimated to occur in just three geologic provinces: Arctic Alaska (30 billion barrels), the Amerasia Basin (9.7 billion barrels) and the East Greenland Rift Basins (8.9 billion barrels).

More than 70 percent of the undiscovered natural gas is likely to be in three provinces: the West Siberian Basin (651 Tcf), the East Barents Basins (318 Tcf) and Arctic Alaska (221 Tcf), the USGS said.

Technically recoverable resources are those energy supplies that can be put into the market using currently available technology and industry practices.

Posted by Careful Reading Required, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Key phrase in the whole article:
"Technically recoverable"

NOT "Economically Recoverable"

Bottom Line: I wouldn't go out and buy that now deeply-discounted new Hummer just yet, if I were you.

Posted by Русский, a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Oh please you foolish palo alto now nothings.

Thinking caps on boys and girls!

What nation has the largest land mass and happens to be above the Arctic circle.

What nation remembers being bankrupted by military spending and now enjoys a massive inflow of petrol dollars?

This nation has been punching holes in the tundra for years and would never listen to such defeatist talk.

But then again you Americans are fat, lazy and on disability.


Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Pelosi and Harry say that it makes no difference because oil from the North would not be available for 8 to 10 years. Using that logic, why plant corn in the spring if it won't be available until Fall? In fact, why have children when they seldom become productive until 18 or 21 years later.
We do know that our non-harvest of oil today is a direct consequence of our non-drill 10 years ago, a direct result of gutless politicians of both parties.
T-Bone says do it all with wind and solar - the last time I looked, there was nothing preventing T-Bone from investing all his considerable fortune in those endeavors. Of course, when the lights go out and the subsidies dry out...

Posted by TBoone, a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 24, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Oops, Looks like Walter is equating the value of children with the value of petrol. Watch your backs, people.

Posted by I need gas, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Whoooooh was that " the West Siberian Basin (651 Tcf)" mama mia 651 TRILLION cubic Feet of Natural Gas! That will last a very very very long time.

Why are we using this gasoline stuff in our cars?

Let's get on board with CNG for all cars now!
Here is how you do it:
Web Link

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm

If all of the estimated Artic Oil were extractable, it represents less than a 3 year supply of petroleum products at today's consumption rate of 86 Million Barrels per day. So don't start counting your barrels before their burned.

Unlike much of the continental shelf off the lower 48 states, the Alaskan coast is generally open to oil exploration. This year, oil companies spent $2.6 billion to acquire leases on government-controlled offshore tracts.

So as much as you blame Pelosi and Reid, exploration is on going in the region. Without detailed seismic and exploratory wells, it's hard to verify this USGS estimate.

Posted by The truth is easy, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Hey Anonymous you said

"it represents less than a 3 year supply of petroleum products at today's consumption rate of 86 Million Barrels per day."

Your omission was that is WORLD demand.

If you want to debate be honest.

Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2008 at 2:31 am

TBoone, children [at least my children] are an asset. If you are so stupid as to have failed to get my message of the mature need to prepare now for later need, then you fall into the hunter-gatherer dependence on the fruit that falls from trees and the charity of others.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Easy there, Truth is easy. If we're going to be honest let's be honest all the way. Plus informed.

86 Mbbl may be the world oil consumption rate and not (as you may be implying) the US consumption rate, which is about one-quarter of that. But the 90 Bbbl reserves estimate is for the whole Arctic, the area above 66.5 degrees latitude. According to my globe, the USA owns only a tiny fraction of that turf; Russia, Canada, and (yes) Denmark each own a far larger piece of it. The whole world will be sucking on the straws, not just the USA.

Posted by Greg, a resident of Southgate
on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Relatively soon, it will be recognized by us Americans that oil is not the answer any more, although it will remain a major bridge fuel into the future. Coal and shale are huge, too, but dirty.

The next major, and essential, bridge fuel is Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 via nuclear fission. With some luck, we might be able to achieve nuclear fusion. In the meantime, we will need to live with coal and solar (including wind), along with efficiency increases at all levels. However, nuclear fission is the only fuel cycle that will maintain our lifetyle, as we have come to know it over the past century or so.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Hey there, truth be easy. Care to name any deep-water reservoirs where more than 35% of the oil has been extracted? Care to name any where any believes that 35% recovery is even possible?

Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Money blown on dead end power is money lost to the economy. It takes a strong economy to build a nuclear reactor or a distribution grid.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm

You might add a strong will, Walter. The true Greatest Generations, the ones who built our country, ended when Eisenhower died.

Posted by Tommy Tea Cup, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I agree with the Russian:

Americans are fat, lazy and on disability.


The Russians own most of the oil.
As well as have great deal of influence over the rest.

Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2008 at 6:50 pm

People need to know the nature of things. Lights do not naturally occur at night and peace does not exist in nature.

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