The region is believed to contain around a quarter of the worlds undiscovered oil and gas reserves

Artic highs have shrunk to record lows this summer with new islands emerging from beneath the water.

It is a sign that most people would view with trepidation but oil companies and some politicians do not see it that way. 

In the past month Russia, Denmark, Norway and the United States have all sent expeditions into the Arctic region.

Canada recently completed a massive military exercise in it's icy north and announced it is expanding it's military presence there.

Power positioning, the race to own the top of the world is on and the prize is vast oil reserves.  But what effect will this have on this climatically sensitive spot? 

Inside Story investigates.

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This episode of Inside Story aired on Wednesday 22 August 2007

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