In new findings, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic may be home to 30 percent of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil.
"Based on our study, there are 40 [billion] to 160 billion barrels of oil north of the Arctic Circle," said Gautier. The USGS had previously estimated the Arctic is home to 90 billion barrels of oil.
The Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy, estimates that the world currently uses 30 billion barrels of oil a year.
Offshore oil exploration in the Arctic is still in its infancy, but ExxonMobil and other oil companies already have staked their claim and started drilling in the Mackenzie Delta, the Barents Sea, the Sverdrup Basin, and offshore Alaska.