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Denmark uses Russian data in its application for expanding shelf — minister

January 21, 15:15 updated at: January 21, 16:16 UTC+3

"In our opinion, in the most part of the application Denmark used our geological materials, which we publish openly," Sergei Donskoi said

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Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi

© Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. The Russian side believes Denmark has used data of its research in reasons for the application to expand the continental shelf in the Arctic, Russia's Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoi told reporters on Saturday.

"As yet, we have questions to Denmark, we continue discussions with them," he said. "In December, our specialists were in Copenhagen, where they presented our concept and all our remarks regarding their application. (...) We have made clear our position regarding their application and the issues, where our grounds are different. In our opinion, in the most part of the application Denmark used our geological materials, which we publish openly," he said.

Other bids

The other countries making claims to various sections of seabed in Arctic Ocean are Norway, Canada, Denmark, and the U.S. Donskoi has said many a time the interests of Canada and Denmark in the Arctic Ocean overlap with Russia's interests and the three countries have not eliminated their contradictions to date.

For instance, the sections of shelf to the north of Greenland, which Denmark listed in its claim in December 2014, overlap considerably with the areas claimed by Russia, including the North Pole and a part of the Lomonosov Ridge.

It is not ruled out that Canada's claim for expansion of its shelf may also list a number of overlapping sections. Canadian authorities announced on July 22 the country was launching research for a further expansion of its shelf and experts say the country may file the final bid already in 2018.

"Each country submits its materials," Donskoi said. "As regards this country we naturally proceed from the fact we were among the first to file a bid we did it in 2001, and in 2016 we filed a refined bid," Donskoi said. "That's why, if you take the schedule, the phase where the commission will consider their claims is still some way off." He also said that, in terms of passing a decision on litigious areas of the shelf, there would be no need to wait until other countries filed their claims.

Russia’s bid was discussed at the 41st session of the UN commission in August, 2016, and in December, 2016 Russia presented to the commission additional information, proving rights for the claim and also gave its comment on the application filed by Denmark.

The interest to the northern seas is explained by the fact they are estimated to contain 83billion tons in undiscovered conventional resources, where about 80% are in the Barents and Kara Seas. Noteworthy, the chances for opening new big reserves of oil and gas in practically unexplored zones of the shelf are very high.

Russia plans to negotiate with Trump's officials ratifying of shelf application

Russia plans to have negotiations with administration of the US President Donald Trump regarding its application for expanding of the Arctic continental shelf, which the US has not ratified earlier, Donskoi told reporters.

"What the procedure will be like - is something for future, but anyway talks are necessary," he said.

Russia has always minded the fact the US does not agree with Russia's application for expanding borders of the Arctic continental shelf, but anyway this question is not a key question now, the minister said.

"Of course, we consider all this as a fact (the fact that the US has not ratified the Russian bid), this is well-known already," the minister said. "Secondly, anyway, besides the fact that the (UN) commission is still to consider the application and confirm its reasons, further on we shall be facing talks with the countries, we are bordering - Denmark, Canada."

Russia’s claims

Russia has applied to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) on August, 3, 2015. Russia plans to add to the shelf the Lomonosov Ridge and other areas of the seabed. According to lowest estimates, thus Russia will have additionally potential hydrocarbon reserves of 5 billion tons of fuel equivalent.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allows expanding a country’s economic zone provided that the seabed beyond its borders is a natural extension of the continental edge. By default, a state’s shelf is limited by 200 nautical miles.

North of the Arctic Circle are about 60 large hydrocarbon deposits,43 of which are in the Russian sector. The total resources in the Russian Arctic are estimated at 106 billion tons of oil equivalent, and gas reserves are estimated at 69.5 trillion cubic meters.

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