By Robert Sullivan - Exclusive to Oil Investing NewsCanada's largest territory - Nunavut - whose main claim to fame is being home to the northernmost permanently inhabited settlement in the world, could soon be well-known for something quite different: oil. Interest in the Arctic, granddaddy of all untapped oil reserves, has been piqued over the past few years as 'easy' oil has proven harder and harder to come by. In 2009, the US Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that the Arctic could hold as much as 160 billion barrels of crude oil, the equivalent of 5 years of global oil consumption. These tremendous reserves have long been locked up under the Arctic seabed, virtually untouchable. A combination of melting ice and recent advances in engineering, however, has finally started to open it up to exploration. And with 160,935 square kilometres (62,137 square miles) of territorial water in the Arctic, Nunavut figures to have at least a small piece of the estimated 160 billion barrels of Arctic reserves. Exploration in Nunavut How much oil Nunavut may in fact have though, remains unknown. With poor infrastructure on most of its northern islands and a climate too harsh to operate in for a majority of the year, headway on pinpointing where commercial quantities of oil may lie has been slow. Keith Dewing, who leads a team of government scientists searching for promising energy reserves in Northern Canada, explained to Reuters in a recent interview how difficult the task has proven to be in Nunavut. "Our level of understanding up there is just not all that great in so many areas…If someone came to you and said 'Hey, is there a resource there?,' it's embarrassing but you have to say 'You know what? I'm really not sure.'"