The U, S. is preparing to host a major oil spill event in the Arctic, where some experts say the world’s largest and most expensive oil and gas reserves are buried deep beneath the ice, the U.N. Environment Program said Tuesday.
The event, known as the Arctic Shell Harvest, will be the first time a major event is planned for the vast region since Shell first started drilling there in 1997, said Maria Kornze, director of the Unequal Assets Initiative, a U.K.-based NGO that monitors and protects Arctic assets.
The U.R.O.A.A., the United Nations Environment Program’s Arctic and Antarctic region, said it would provide funding to the Usha Foundation, an organization that will provide security and logistics for the event.
The Usha foundation, the largest of several international donors, has pledged $2.7 million to the event, said a Usha spokeswoman, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Usha Foundation President David Ruppert said the Uwa Foundation will donate its oil, gas and other resources, and that the Ura Foundation will support the expedition, which will begin in Alaska and travel to the North Pole.
The Arctic Shell harvest is expected to be the largest natural gas event in history, with an estimated total of more than 3 billion cubic feet of gas, Kornzesaid.
The $2 billion event will also mark the first major oil and oil-related oil spills in the United States.
A 2009 spill in North Dakota in which a tanker carrying more than 500,000 barrels of oil burst into flames killed 11 people.
That incident, which involved more than 300 oil wells, also sent the US. crude oil market tumbling in the early months of this decade.
In a 2014 report, the group estimated that about 200 million barrels of crude oil were spilled worldwide in 2013.
That number includes both crude and liquefied natural gas spilled from pipelines, pipelines and fields.
In the URA, the report estimated that more than 1.4 billion barrels of fuel were spilled in 2015.
In addition to the spill in 2009, the event will likely involve large amounts of methane, which is produced when oil is burned to produce electricity, and the hydrocarbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska was the largest oil spill in U. S. history and cost more than $10 billion.
In May 2018, the company paid $4.5 billion to settle a lawsuit filed by environmental groups.