USGS: Arctic Holds 90B Barrels of Oil

The area north of the Arctic Circle has an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, the U.S. Geological Survey announced Wednesday.

The USGS said technically recoverable resources are those produced using currently available industry practices and technology.

The Arctic accounts for about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas, the USGS reported.

"Before we can make decisions about our future use of oil and gas and related decisions about protecting endangered species, native communities and the health of our planet, we need to know what's out there," USGS Director Mark Myers said. "With this assessment, we're providing the same information to everyone in the world so that the global community can make those difficult decisions."

The three provinces of West Siberian Basin, the East Barents Basins and Arctic Alaska are said to hold more than 70 percent of the undiscovered natural gas.

Though the Arctic is virtually unexplored with respect to petroleum, the search for it has resulted in the discovery of more than 400 oil and gas fields north of the Arctic Circle.

Click here to read more from the USGS.