Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chinese news service reports Russia claiming arctic oil

Tuesday,Jun. 108


Russia schemes to claim North Pole oil
BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- The icebreaker Rossiya and scientific vessel Akademik Fyodorov have reached the North Pole and will attempt to plant a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed as part of an ambitious scheme to claim vast reserves of oil and gas, Russian news agency ITAR-TASS announced Wednesday.
Polar explorer and Russian parliament member Artur Chilingarov heads a team of about 100 scientists on the expedition designed to find evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge — a 1,200-mile underwater mountain range that crosses the polar region — is a geologic extension of Russia.
Russian researchers used two mini-submarines to dive to a depth of 4,300 feet (1,300 meters) prior to reacing their destination. The dives "were only a dress rehearsal before diving at the North Pole, where depths are over four kilometers (2.5 miles)," Chilingarov told ITAR-TASS.
Chilingarov and fellow parliament member Vladimir Grudez will later attempt to dive in one of the mini-subs to more than 13,200 feet (4,023 meters), where they will drop a titanium tube containing the Russian flag on the sea floor.
The gesture will symbolize Russia's claim to a large chunk of the Arctic shelf twice the area of Britain and estimated to contain up to 10 billion tons of oil and gas deposits, as well as vast reserves of diamonds and valuable metals such as gold, tin and platinum.
Under current international law, Russia, Canada, the United States, Norway and Denmark—the countries with territories ringing the Arctic — are limited to a 200-mile economic zone around their coastlines.
In May, Russian leader Vladimir Putin claimed that the Lomonosov Ridge is a geologic extension of Siberia and can therefore be claimed by Russia under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Ironically, the North Pole is already drifting towards Siberia, albeit in a very slow, geologic way.

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