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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Russia wants Lomonosov Ridge in its economic zone

RIA Novosti (October 25 2007)

Russia's minister of natural resources said on Thursday that Russia has grounds to include the Arctic Lomonosov Ridge in the country's economic zone.

The area is part of the Arctic territory Russia has claimed since 2001, on the grounds that the underwater mountain chain and the Mendeleyev Ridge are a continuation of its shelf. In August, two Russian mini-submarines made a symbolic eight-hour dive beneath the North Pole to bolster the country's claim to the territory, and planted a titanium flag on the seabed.

"We believe that the research results of the Arctic-2007 expedition are sufficient for a bid to include the Lomonosov Ridge in Russia's economic zone", Yury Trutnev said.

The minister reiterated his statement earlier this month that the development of the Lomonosov Ridge could bring Russia up to five billion metric tons of oil equivalent.

Russia's oceanology research institute has undertaken two Arctic expeditions on orders from the ministry - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge this summer - to back Russian claims to the region. The area is believed to contain vast oil and gas reserves and other mineral riches, likely to become accessible in future decades due to man-made global warming.

Researchers have conducted deepwater seismic probes, aerial and geophysical surveys, and seismic-acoustic probes on the Akademik Fedorov and Rossiya icebreakers.

The ministry said scientists would announce their final research results in December 2007.

Deputy Natural Resources Minister Alexei Varlamov said earlier that the Arctic territory could add eighty million tons of oil and 426 billion cubic meters of gas to Russian reserves, bringing the country an additional 1.35 billion metric tons of oil equivalent.

In 2001, Russia first claimed its right to the territory, but the UN demanded more evidence.

Under international law, the five Arctic Circle countries - the US, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia - each have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.

© 2005 RIA Novosti

Bill Totten


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