It has long been known that the Arctic Ocean region has some of the largest deposits of fossil fuels in the world. But, these resources have been unattainable due to the severe climate of the arctic and particularly due to the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean.
So, why are so many oil companies suddenly making plans to drill in the arctic?
In the last few weeks Rosneft (Russia's biggest petroleum company and one of the largest in the world) has made deals with ExxonMobil and Eni (Italian petroleum company). These deals involve many billions of dollars. Some of the development will occur in the Black Sea, but about two-thirds will take place in the ice-bound arctic. Or, at least it use to be ice-bound.
These companies are recognizing the world is changing and, by their actions, are acknowledging the inevitability of climate change. They don't need to worry about sea ice as much as they use to because there won't be as much sea ice as there use to. Less arctic ice means more open water and that translates into more accessibility to the arctic resources, including oil.
ExxonMobil continues to finance anti-science global warming deniers, but is also investing billions of dollars into regions that would be inaccessible if not for global warming. I guess they are covering both sides of the bet. With all the money they have, can you blame them? But, also note they are saying they believe global warming is real. They would not be making these deals otherwise.