The Arctic is the latest “accretion” to the prospective petroliferous area of the world which, historically, has grown in steps as new areas have come within reach through technical and economic breakthroughs.
The production of Arctic oil will depend on the effort expended. Historically, though total world oil supply and demand have increased smoothly and exponentially, individual-country production and demand have moved in steps as the effort expended has varied with the presence or absence of restrictions, self or externally imposed.
Resulting world oil-supply patterns over the past 30 years also have shown some marked and varied changes.
On the basis of presently indicated reserves, it appears that North American Arctic oil will be used in the U.S.A. However, the predicted world supply pattern in 1985 probably would be changed significantly if the North American Arctic had proved to be equal to the Middle East in size of reserves.
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Following the discovery of Prudhoe Bay oil field in 1968, much attention was turned to the Arctic in the search for giant hydrocarbon accumulations. The Soviets had already proved giant reserves in their West Siberian Basin, and exploration was moving ahead quickly in the Canadian Arctic. Plans were drawn up for an AAPG Symposium on Arctic Geology and held in February 1971. Papers were selected from the Symposium for this publication and cover seven topical groupings: Regional Arctic Geology of Canada, Regional Arctic Geology of the Nordic Countries, Regional Arctic Geology of the USSR, Regional Arctic Geology of Alaska, Comparisons in the North Atlantic Borders, Evolution of the Arctic Ocean Basin, and Economics of Petroleum Exploration and Production in the Arctic.