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Minister: Russia plans to finalize by autumn studies to confirm its Arctic shelf

August 14/ 11:21

Moscow. By autumn, Russia will finalize the studies of its Arctic shelf, which are required for further discussions at the UN, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin told reporters.

"This summer, we shall make necessary studies of the Gakkel Ridge and will present all the necessary information [to the UN commission]," he said. "Whether it will satisfy the commission — is another story."

"We are doing the work to confirm the gaps, as they put it," he continued. "The expedition is working already."

Earlier, the minister hoped the UN would vote on the Russian application for expanding the Arctic shelf in August 2019, informs TASS.

Russian plans are to extend the Arctic zone by the Lomonosov, Mendeleyev and Gakkel ridges. By the lowest estimates, the projected hydrocarbon resources in the areas under consideration make 5 billion tonnes of fuel equivalent.

Under the international law, nobody owns the North Pole and the surrounding part of the Arctic Ocean. Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US claim shares of the Arctic continental shelf.

Denmark, which together with Greenland claims 1 million square kilometers, broke its claim into five parts. The first part was filed in April 2009, and as of now it is the only satisfied claim from that country. The latter part, which includes the North Pole, was filed in December 2014. Canada filed its claim with the UN on May 23, 2019.

The northern seas’ undiscovered reserves are estimated at 83 billion tonnes of fuel equivalent, about 80% of which are in the Barents and Kara seas. Chances to open new oil and gas reserves in practically unstudied Arctic shelf zones are very high.

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

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