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It is safe to say that the Arctic is one of the most fossil fuel laden areas in the world, even though massive exploitation has still not begun. Other non-renewable resources are also immense the Arctic being rich e.g. of nickel, diamonds and gold.

However, the exploitation of fossil fuels is very dependent on Arctic marine shipping and is likely to be one of the main driving forces for Trans-Arctic shipping becoming a norm in the international trade industry.

Some regions, which have experienced major prosperity, some of it quite recently, have literally been opened to massive exploitation in support of national policies for industrial development or energy security.

For example Norway has clearly indicated its willingness and ambition for long term development of the oil and gas reserves found in Norwegian continental shelf.

Most of the regions in the Arctic have both onshore and offshore production and exploration of a variety of non-renewables. The Arctic holds a great share of the world’s oil, coal and gas reserves. At the present, the Arctic produces about 10 percent of the world’s oil and a quarter of its gas and for these critical commodities the region’s role is estimated to be greater in the future.

Increased activity in the field of extraction of non-renewable resources is expected not only from climate change-related factors, such as increased access caused by receding sea ice, but also from changes such as improvements in offshore technology, oil-price development, and the political landscape in the Arctic.

The International Energy Agency has estimated that the cost of petroleum extraction in the Arctic is about three times higher than in other petroleum provinces.

Sources: Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009

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