Friday, July 25, 2008

Report suggests arctic may hold 20 pct of undiscovered oil

A Unites States Geological Survey report, which took four years to complete, suggests one fifth of the worlds "yet-to-be-discovered oil and natural gas reserves" are hidden under the frozen arctic landscape and icy seas, reports the NY Times.

The USGS survey estimates 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 90 billion barrels of oil are up there. That's (kind of not really) enough oil to fuel the planet for three years (if consumption rates stay the same at 86 million barrels a day, which they won't).

Most of the natural gas in the arctic is in Russian territory, but at least a third (30 billion barrels) of oil is off the coast of Alaska.

Another note, the survey considers "undiscovered technically recoverable resources" only. That means they only look at stuff we can retrieve with existing technologies. Who knows, as technologies improve, there may be a way to get more resources out of the region.

What does Pound360 think of all this? Leave it alone! Let's leave the dirty, non-renewable energy in backup reserve, just in case we have trouble coming up with green alternatives. This country needs to do that. We need to set a challenging, crazy (inspirational) date and say, "by this time, less than 10 percent of our energy consumption will come from non-renewable sources."

What if we hit that goal and the resources remain in the arctic? Two things. One, we wit 50 years for oil and gas to get desperately scarce, and then sell what we have to places in the world that still rely on it at a very, very high price. Two, we just leave it there for the civilization that takes our place after an asteroid wipes out life on the planet hundreds of thousands of years in the future.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.