Russia Looking for Oil Outside its Arctic Shelf

By George Backwell
Friday, August 01, 2014
Arctic navigation: File photo

The research vessel Akademik Fedorov, accompanied by the Yamal nuclear icebreaker, is  collecting geophysical data in a search for oil on the Russian shelf outside the 200-mile zone, which will form the basis of Russia's claims to the UN Commission on extending the boundaries of the continental shelf, according to official news agency Arctic-info.

The seismic survey will take place in the Vilkitsky bend, Povodnikov, Amundsen, Nansen and Makarov hollows and the shelf in the Laptev and East Siberian seas. It is planned that the Yamal icebreaker will be used in these works until mid-September. The research area will be about 350,000 km².

Work will be carried out as part of a government contract, concluded between OJSC MAGE and Rosnedra.

Source: Arctic-info

Under international law, the North Pole and the adjoining region of the Arctic Ocean do not belong to any one country. However, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States have a 370 km exclusive economic zone off their coasts.

Arctic-info explains that if Russia proves that Mendeleev and Lomonosov ridges are a geological extension of the Russian continental shelf, then Russia will be able to obtain the right to explore for hydrocarbons in the triangle of the Chukotka-Murmansk-North Pole region with an area of 1.2 million km². In 2001, the Russian bid was rejected by the UN Commission because of a lack of information.

In 2012, research in this area was led by Sevmorgeo. The processing of seismic information aboard the Kapitan Dranitsyn and Dikson icebreakers tentatively confirmed the continental nature of the Mendeleev Ridge.

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