New drilling technologies and soaring crude prices have driven energy companies to explore the Arctic region's oil and natural gas resources, observers say. ExxonMobil and Rosneft forged a deal earlier this year to jointly drill in the Russian Arctic, while Royal Dutch Shell seeks to start its Alaskan offshore-drilling project by next summer. "We'll see more [Arctic] activity than we've seen in the past," said David Hobbs, IHS CERA's chief energy strategist.

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