Arctic oil, natural gas defined as U.S. priority

May 13, 2013 at 7:37 AM

WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- Arctic territory off the northern coast of Alaska is a key element of U.S. national and energy security interests, a national plan states.

A U.S. government 13-page national strategy says the arctic off Alaska region has conventional oil and natural gas resources make up about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas.

Parts of the region have become more accessible to energy explorers because of warming trends. The national strategy said these "fresh ideas" have led to concerns about uncoordinated development of arctic reserves.

"It is imperative that the United States proactively establish national priorities and objectives for the arctic region," the plan states.

Shell last year said delayed plans for the region following equipment issues and weather delays. ConocoPhillips said it was reluctant to move forward because of regulatory uncertainty.

The strategy said arctic oil and natural gas reserves are included as part of U.S. President Barack Obama's so-called all-of-the-above domestic energy initiative and therefore is part of the nation's energy security priorities.

"The arctic region's energy resources factor into a core component of our national security strategy: energy security," it states.

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