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Arctic's calling: Russia is getting ready to explore top of the world rich subglacial reserves

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06 February 2012


Arctic's calling: Russia is getting ready to explore top of the world rich subglacial reserves 

Russia's continental shelf in the Arctic could be 1.2 million square kilometres bigger than previously acknowledged, with potentially huge implications for energy exploration and exploitation.

The results of new geological surveys off northern Siberia conducted in 2011 'may give Russia the right to explore rich hydrocarbon reserves' under the ice, according to the Natural Resources Ministry in a statement in early February.

The surveys were conducted to establish evidence for the Russian contention that the undersea Lomonosov Ridge is geologically part of the East Siberian continental shelf.

The Ministry was commenting on a report by Anatoly Ledovskikh, head of subsoil resources agency Rosnedra.

It was in 2001 that Russia submitted a claim to for additional territorial waters off the Siberian coast in the Arctic to the United Nations. A 2007 expedition collected samples from the sea bed and planted a titanium Russian flag under the North Pole.

Vladimir Putin said in 2011: 'Russia is determined to expand its presence in the Arctic. We are open for dialogue with our foreign partners, with all the neighbours in the Arctic Region, but of course we will be firm and consistent in upholding our geopolitical interests'. 

Other countries with territory close to Arctic waters, namely the US, Canada, Denmark (Greenland) and Norway are seeking to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.

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