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Page added on May 29, 2009

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Natural gas in the Arctic is mostly Russian

Nearly one-third of the natural gas yet to be discovered in the world is north of the Arctic Circle and most of it is in Russian territory, according to a new analysis led by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey.

“These findings suggest that in the future the … pre-eminence of Russian strategic control of gas resources in particular is likely to be accentuated and extended,” said Donald L. Gautier, lead author of the study published in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.
Russia is already the world’s leading natural gas producer, noted Gautier, of the Geological Survey’s office in Menlo Park, Calif.

The report, by an international scientific team, estimated that the Arctic also contains between 3 and 4 percent of the world’s oil resources remaining to be discovered.

Arctic oil reserves are much smaller than those of natural gas and are unlikely to lead to any shift in world oil balance, Gautier said in a recorded briefing provided by Science.

But they could be of importance locally if developed by individual countries, he said, citing in particular the United States and Greenland, which is governed by Denmark.

However, Gautier added, the study looked only at the geological setting and the chance that energy resources are present.

“If these resources were to be found they would not be found all at once, they would be found incrementally and they would be produced incrementally,” he said, urging caution about assuming that the oil might extend world production significantly.

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