Uniqueness: Russia’s expanding its sphere of ocean influence

Russia expanding Sphere of Influence in the Arctic

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Russia expanding Sphere of Influence in the Arctic

Barents Norwegian News Organization, 14

[No author, May 16, Barents Nova, “Russia to claim more of Arctic Ocean,” http://www.barentsnova.com/node/2702, accessed July 9, 2014, EK]

New geophysical research is to convince the UN that great areas of the Arctic Ocean floor must belong to Russia.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi has informed the press that before the end of November his office will have submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the renewed UN application for the expansion of the Russian Arctic sea shelf zone.

The Russian Federation has been claiming those hydrocarbon-rich parts of the Arctic Ocean which include Lomonosov and Mendeleyev Ridges since 2001, but the previous application was rejected by the UN continental shelf commission because of the lack of geological information. So this summer Russia is going to undertake a new research in the Arctic seas and the Arctic Ocean to collect the scientific evidence that the abovementioned ridges – and this time the particular attention will be paid to the underwater Gakkel Ridge – are the continuations of the Russian sea shelf. If the task is fulfilled successfully, Russia will have the priority rights to develop the resources which, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, can reach 10 billion tons of standard fuel.

"After finishing the work, we will need to process the materials, and by the end of November the preliminary application will be ready. Then the Foreign Ministry will submit this application to the United Nation's Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. It is difficult to predict how long it will be considered over. Probably it will take a few years," said Mr. Donskoi at a press conference. "This year we need to conduct all the final studies, which will include most of our northern waters. Prior to that we have carried out the researches closer to the land, but this year we are planning geophysical operations in the ice bound ocean."

In case the UN commission gives its approval, Russia will have the exclusive rights on the seabed at the North Pole, as the Lomonosov Ridge extending from the New Siberian Islands in the eastern Laptev Sea towards the Canadian Arctic Archipelago goes right through it. The width of the Lomonosov Ridge varies from 60 to 200 km. It rises 3,300 to 3,700 meters above the seabed. The minimum depth of the ocean above the ridge is 954 m. The Ridge was first discovered by the Soviet high-latitude expeditions in 1948 and is named after 18th century academician Mikhail Lomonosov.

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