Denmark has claimed ownership of around 900,000 square kilometers of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean by filing documents to United Nations.
"The submission of our claim to the continental shelf north of Greenland is a historic and important milestone for the Kingdom of Denmark," minister of foreign affairs Martin Lidegaard said in a statement.
Denmark, along with Canada
, Norway, Russia
and the United States -- is eager to control as much Arctic territory as it can. The region contains 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of its oil, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The government said the project aims to define the outer limits of Denmark's continental shelf and thereby the Kingdom of Denmark. The area is as large as France and Germany put together and 20 times bigger than Denmark itself.
States are entitled to a continental shelf extending 200 nautical miles from their coast. Claims beyond that must be supported by scientific and technical data.
Against this background, experts have collected and processed data since 2002 from the area north of Greenland for the submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Denmark acknowledges that Norway's continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles overlaps the Danish claim. It may also overlap with claims by Canada, Russia and the United States.
(Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Larry King)