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Town on the front lines of the coming oil explosion hopes for a silver lining

WAINWRIGHT, Alaska --- A cold autumn rain was beginning to fall as Hugh Patkotak approached the edge of the Wainwright Lagoon. Patkotak recalled that not long ago subsistence hunters here rode dog teams onto the frozen tundra each winter to hunt for caribou. Now Patkotak, 65, is firmly rooted in the modern world as a pilot for the North Slope Borough and chairman of the Olgoonik Corp., Wainwright's profit-making arm. With Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and Statoil ASA lining up to explore for oil in the American Arctic, Wainwright is on the front line of a coming oil explosion. Patkotak predicts that if the giants find a huge oil reserve, Wainwright villagers are in for a shock.



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