Arctic Holds 3 Years of Oil
A fifth of world's untapped reserves may be under melting ice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 7:24 AM CDT
This is an undated file photo provided by Subhankar Banerjee, shows a polar bear in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. I    (AP Photo/Subhankar Banerjee, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Enough oil is believed to lie under the rapidly thawing Arctic to last the world 3 years, Reuters reports. The USGS released a forecast yesterday estimating the region has 90 billion recoverable barrels of oil and vast natural gas reserves. The agency's director said the information was vital in order to weigh the potential destruction caused by drilling versus the benefits.

The oil, becoming easier to access as the planet heats up, would give the world's supply a boost—but there are warnings of dire consequences for wildlife already struggling as its habitat melts. "You may lose species," the head of Clean Air Watch said. "The oil industry goes up there and industrializes what has been a pristine area—suddenly it become the new Houston."