Oil and gas giant Shell is expected to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic within the next two weeks.
Experts believe that more than 20% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources can be found in the Arctic.
The US Department of the Interior gave the green light to Shell to commence Arctic oil exploration in May this year, and the Anglo-Dutch group clearly believes it will get the remaining necessary permits in the next week or two.
Thirty ships left Dutch Harbor in Alaska on Thursday July 2, for the Arctic, to support two initial exploratory wells.
The initial two wells will be in relatively shallow water of about 40 to 50m deep, off the coast of Alaska, and they will use conventional drilling techniques. The company should know whether these wells find sufficient quantities of oil to justify further exploration by the end of 2016.
By this time, it will have spent another $1.4bn on the project. The company has already committed about $7bn (£4.5bn) to the controversial project, and is confident it will find huge quantities of oil in the region.