Abstract 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.