Russia, FSU and the Circum-Arctic: ‘the final frontier’
J. R. Maynard, A. J. Fraser, M. B. Allen, R. A. Scott, S. Drachev, 2010. "Russia, FSU and the Circum-Arctic: ‘the final frontier’", Petroleum Geology: From Mature Basins to New Frontiers – Proceedings of the 7th Petroleum Geology Conference, B. A. Vining, S. C. Pickering
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Sixteen papers representing the petroleum geology of the Arctic, Russia and former Soviet Union were presented over the first day and a half of PGC VII. The region is huge, diverse and has generated a great deal of excitement and outside investment in the industry over the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Arctic region in particular has significance as perhaps the last great frontier hydrocarbon province on Earth. The region is large, approximately 5000 km across a polar view north of the Arctic Circle (Fig. 1). Importantly, from an oil and gas exploration perspective, the Arctic Ocean has the most extensive continental shelf area of any ocean basin (c. 50% of offshore area). Much of this sits in the broad Russian offshore Arctic in water depths of less than 50 m. There are numerous sedimentary basins in the Arctic, some well known, but most poorly understood. Art Grantz (United States Geological Survey) and colleagues estimated resources at 114×109 barrels of undiscovered oil and 2000×1012 standard cubic feet (SCF) of natural gas. If the estimates are correct, these hydrocarbons would account for more than a fifth of the world's undiscovered resources. This great prize, in a world of diminishing reserves, has recently brought territorial issues into focus between the five countries with claims in the Arctic Ocean (Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the USA). All of this is taking place against a backdrop of increasing concern for the fragile Arctic environment.