Saturday, March 22, 2008

Arctic Oil & Gas - A Manager of the Resources

Arctic Oil & Gas Corp. has confirmed "confirmed potentially vast "Arctic Commons" oil and gas deposits from geoscientific evidence. Prevalent deposits of what is known as the "Azolla Interval" have corresponded to Arctic finds in northern Alaska, East Barents Sea, and the South Karal/Yamal basins" as stated in

Recent estimates have found the "Arctic Commons" could contain the equivalent of more than 400 billion barrels of oil and gas as well as massive amounts of another potential energy source: crystallised methane and methane hydrates. This obvious massive opportunity to control probably the world's largest non-government controlled hydrocarbons resource has sparked a race amongst governments and control has begun to be given to a few of the world's major "Independent Oil Companies."

In parallel, some petroleum exploration companies are developing their share of the extensive "Arctic Commons" claims of what they anticipate to be one of the greatest oil and gas discoveries in history. Those companies expect their legal claims to a portion of the prospect to be developed in partnership with both major integrated oil companies and large independent exploration companies.

From the companies web-site we can gleam more information about these "Arctic Commons". The website states:

"An Exclusive Rights Claim to the Hydrocarbon Resources of the Arctic Oceans Commons was formally lodged by the Company and its partners with the United Nations and the five Arctic countries on May 9th 2006.

The Company intends to operate as the ”lead manager“ tasked to create a multinational joint venture consortium of major oil companies, whose technology and managerial expertise will be vital to recovering the oil and gas from the harsh, deep waters of the Arctic in an environmentally safe manner."

Now this raises several questions from the five countries that border the Arctic. Canada, the U.S., Denmark, Norway and Russia - how will these countries deal with the claim and position of Arctic Oil & Gas? Is Arctic Oil & Gas actually making a gamble (they are based in Las Vegas, Nevada) that they will be brought out by potentially larger suitor (such as an ExxonMobil, OAO Gazprom, StatOilHydro, Petro-Canada) or is their logic justified in being a "lead manager" of the resources?

Should the north be developed based on a marketplace model, such as the one being proposed by this company? Or should it be developed and maintained, much like the Antarctic is currently - a land with no ownership and met for the betterment and knowledge of mankind and his/her understanding of the environment we call home?

Joint Ventures are common in the oil industry, royalties are as well, and so is working in disputed and far offshore areas. Nations and companies have worked together in some of the most remote locations - so why change the model?

Does Arctic Oil & Gas offer a new idea to an old problem of how do individual nations share resources and the potential wealth that follows. Remember though, that even with wealth, there comes problems and sometimes distribution of the wealth is not equal. Take a look at Nigeria or the early oliegarchies when the former Soviet Union broke up - a few became wealthy, the majority did not.

Some things to watch and this will be an interesting story to see how it plays out.