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Russia, the United States and other countries are hurrying to control Earth's northernmost territory: the Arctic. It is rich in oil and natural gas. The countries want to use these and other natural resources for their citizens and to sell overseas.

Russia has claimed a large part of the Arctic to develop natural resources, including oil. President Barack Obama recently approved proposed drilling in an area under U.S. control. The project was the idea of the Shell Oil Company.

Bill Arnold once worked for the Shell Oil Company. "There is no other place that I've ever been that is like this. So I am very interested in the preservation of the beauty of Alaska." Mr. Arnold said he believes that new energy resources can be developed without harming nature.

The Arctic has become more accessible because polar ice is melting much faster now than in centuries past. Many scientists point to climate change as the reason behind the melting ice. Climate change results from the use of fossil fuels, like petroleum oil for cars and other vehicles.

Russian development of the Arctic slowed after Western nations ordered sanctions (制裁)against Russia. The sanctions were meant to punish Russia for taking the Crimea from neighboring Ukraine. Western-based companies were forced to withdraw from partnerships with Russia.

Mr. Arnold says many countries are developing shipping projects through Arctic waters once the ice is unblocked. He also says it could be some time before Shell's explorations affect U.S. energy production. He says it will be seven to ten years before those efforts begin to pay off with large-scale production.


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