The Coming Arms Race for Arctic Oil

on May 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM

The race for oil in the Arctic is on. As the polar ice cap retreats, energy companies are looking north for a potentially huge new source of crude supply. In April, Exxon Mobil and Russian oil giant Rosneft announced a partnership to develop Arctic reserves in the Kara Sea estimated at up to 85 billion barrels. And this summer, Shell is expected to begin exploratory offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska. In his new book The Eskimo and the Oil Man, Bob Reiss details Shell’s years-long effort to win approval for this multi-billion-dollar project and explains the economic and geopolitical ramifications of the competition for control of the Arctic. But getting the oil out won’t be easy. It could require lots of nuclear-powered icebreakers.