One of the world’s foremost polar scientists is raising concerns over Arctic oil exploration, saying a spill beneath the ice would be calamitous and near “impossible” to clean up. Peter Wadhams, an ocean physics professor at the University of Cambridge and the first civilian to have travelled in a submarine beneath the polar ice-cap, told The Independent newspaper that a spill similar to last year’s massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would likely become “an environmental catastrophe.” He said oil would be frozen beneath the water in the undersea ice pack, allowing it to drift hundreds of kilometres across the ocean until it is released again when the ice melts. More than a quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves are thought to be north of the Arctic Circle, and much of it is under the seabed beneath the polar ice. Oil companies worldwide are ramping up their investment in the area. Last week, Exxon Mobil invested $3.2 billion in Arctic oil exploration.