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Russia seeks to claim Artic territory

Posted by Kris Roman on March 4, 2009


map_np_russiaRussian geologists say they have data that would support a claim to about 1.2m sq km (463,000 sq miles) of energy-rich territory in the Arctic.

Russia has not staked a formal claim to that area – which is the size of France, Germany and Italy combined, Russian media report.The geologists spent 45 days studying the Lomonosov underwater ridge.The Law of the Sea Convention allows states an economic zone of 200 nautical miles, which can sometimes be expanded.To extend the zone, a state has to prove that the structure of the continental shelf is similar to the geological structure within its territory.

At the moment, nobody’s shelf extends up to the North Pole, so there is an international area around the Pole administered by the International Seabed Authority.

The Russian team, from the Oceanology Research Institute in St Petersburg, estimates that the Lomonosov ridge area in the Arctic contains oil and gas reserves of up to 10bn tonnes.



Russia needs to mark its Arctic territory


Russia should pass a law marking its territory in the disputed Arctic where it claims a large share of the mineral resources, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said today.

Geologists believe valuable energy and mineral deposits lie below the Arctic seabed and it is only a matter of time before global warming melts the icecap making them accessible to miners.

“We must finalise and adopt a federal law on the southern border of Russia’s Arctic zone,” Medvedev told Russia’s security council according to Interfax news agency.

“It is our duty to our direct descendents, we have to ensure the long-term national interests of Russia in the Arctic.”

Last year a Russian mini-submarine dived to the seabed underneath the North Pole icecap and symbolically planted a Russian flag to claim the Arctic for the Kremlin.

International law states that the five countries which control Arctic coastline – Canada, Russia, the United States, Norway and Denmark – are allowed a 320 km (200 mile) economic zone north of their shores.

But countries have until May 2009 to submit new ownership claims over the Arctic to a United Nations commission.

Russia has claimed jurisdiction over much of the Arctic because an underwater ridge links Siberia to the seabed that runs underneath the North Pole.


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