Eighty-three billion barrels: That’s how much oil could be present in the Arctic, according to a high-profile U.S. geological survey report released in 2008. But the wave of excitement from the report is now receding, as some harsh realities sink in. First, 83 billion barrels is not actually that much. It would provide enough oil to satisfy world demand for just three years at our current level of consumption. Second, the report was an estimate of undiscovered reserves, based on some broad geological assumptions, since most of the Arctic has not yet been subject to exploratory drilling. Third, 83 billion includes reserves that are technically, but not necessarily economically, recoverable. This […]