photo: Stewart Williams
As more and more Arctic sea ice melts and it really starts sinking in that exploration for all the oil and natural gas trapped under that ice may be getting a whole lot easier sooner than we imagined, it's not too surprising that Russia would reiterate its claim to a large chunk of those resources. According to international treaties each nation is entitled to a 200-mile economic zone off their coastlines, but Russia isn't having it:Underwater Mountain Range Part of Continental Shelf
Reuters is reporting that Russia is again claiming that it is entitled to a larger share of the potential hydrocarbon wealth underneath the seabed because the Lomonosov Ridge, an underwater mountain chain, is really part of the Siberian continental shelf and therefore rightly its territory.
Arctic Must Be Russia's Strategic Resource Base
Russia made these claims at a special meeting of the Russian Security Council held at its northernmost military base on Alexandra's Land, part of the Franz Josef archipelago. According to the Russian Security Council secretary "The Arctic must become Russia's main strategic resource base".
International Appeals Channels Exist
Under international law any state with Arctic coastline which wishes to claim a greater that standard share of sea floor must lodge submit their claim to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
As greater portions of the region warm and become ice free for longer periods, and more accurate estimates of the region's oil reserves become available, I guess we'll see if the proper channels are followed by all parties—Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark—in claiming their fair share or if more unilateral actions will result.
via :: Reuters
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