...says Mr Chilingarov, “We will be the first to plant a flag there. The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.”
Chilingarov is a Russian Arctic explorer and the deputy speaker of the national parliament: Russia raises stakes over Arctic seabed. (Isabel Gorst , Financial Times, August 1).
Global warming is making much of the Arctic more accessible, and there may be oil and gas under the sea bed:
Russian explorers are preparing to plunge below the North Pole to plant a Russian flag on the seabed of the Artic Ocean and lay symbolic claim to a large swathe of territory believed to be rich in oil and minerals.
Russia’s Akademik Fyodorov research vessel is expected to reach the North Pole on Wednesday evening at the end of an 8-day voyage accompanied by ice-breakers from Murmansk, on the north west coast of Russia, Itar-Tass reported.
The unprecedented expedition is led by Artur Chilingarov... The expedition’s main goal is to back the claim of an increasingly assertive Russia that part of the Lomonosov Ridge, a huge underwater mountain range stretching from Greenland to Siberia, is an extension of its own territory.
”We must prove the North Pole is an extension of the Russian continental shelf,” said Mr Chilingarov. “We will be the first to plant a flag there. The Arctic is ours and we should manifest our presence.”
Canada and Denmark also claim that the Lomonosov Ridge, which geologists say could hold billions of barrels of oil reserves, is linked to their lands. The UN committee that administers the Law of the Sea rejected a Russian claim to the area submitted in 2002, saying there was insufficient evidence to support it....
Analysts said that the astronomical cost of exploring in the Arctic would prohibit the exploitation of oil and gas resources for several decades. But oil majors are already positioning themselves in the race for opportunities in the area....