Russia has laid claim to sections on the Arctic Ocean shelf with a forecast hydrocarbon resource totaling 4.9 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a press release, commenting on the application to expand the continental shelf that Russia submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) earlier this week.
"The application under consideration does not alter the conception of the external border of Russia's continental shelf approved by the government in February 2000. An area of the sea floor beyond the 200-mile zone within the bounds of the entire Russian Arctic sector, including the North Pole zone and the southern tip of the Gakkel Ridge, is being claimed. This territory covers 1.2 million square kilometers with a forecast hydrocarbon resource of 4.9 billion tonnes of oil equivalent," the press release quotes Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi as saying.
Russia's claim is scheduled for discussion at CLCS's next plenary session.
In addition, "The Russian Foreign Ministry previously sent the UN a note on the consent of the Russian side to consider Denmark's claim, bringing to the UN General Secretary's attention the potential overlap in the Russian and Danish continental shelves, and noting that the recommendations made by the CLCS must not infringe on either Russia's rights or the issues concerning further delimitation of the shelf between Russia and Denmark on a bilateral basis through negotiation, in accordance with international law."
Russia's latest application was preceded by extensive geological and geophysical surveys of the Arctic Ocean, notably, the geological nature of the Mendeleev and Lomonosov ridges, bathymetric mapping and the necessary seismic surveying.
"The most recent expedition to the Arctic, which involved geological and geophysical research in the area of the Podvodnikov and Amundsen basins beyond the 200-mile limit, was completed on October 28, 2014. This expedition passed through the North Pole, where such research has not previously been conducted," the press release says.
Virtually all aspects of the use of the oceans and seas in international law are set out in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has been ratified by 155 nations, but not the U.S. Russia ratified the Convention in 1997.
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