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Russia still has to agree on two points for Arctic shelf expansion

September 20, 13:44 UTC+3 TYUMEN

In August 2015 Russia sent an application to expand the boundaries of the continental shelf in the Arctic to the UN Commission

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© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

TYUMEN, September 20. /TASS/. The United Nations commission agreed on 42 out of 44 points on foot of the continental shelf slope, presented by Russia in the application for expansion of its Arctic shelf,  Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy said on Wednesday.
"Both the leaders and members of the UN commission have changed. The most important thing is that it  had a positive effect on consideration of our application. The key task is to agree the points on foot of slope of the continental shelf. Out of 44 points, which are in the application Russia has submitted, 42 were agreed, and only remain due, "he said.
The minister added, Russia intends presenting the grounds regarding the two outstanding points during the UN's 45th session.
Earlier Donskoy said in an interview with TASS that the new United Nations commission has been quite active in considering the Russian application for expanding the borders of the Arctic shelf, and there are reasons to expect a final decision in 2018.
"The new commission, as I know, was actively considering the application. Accordingly, we will try to see to it that the final conclusions are made in the very near future. Of course, this year they will not have time to finish it, but itis likely in 2018, if all parties agree. But let's not make plans," Donskoy said.
The Minister added that the next session of the UN Commission was launched in New York on September 5. The Russian delegation is represented by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Director of the Federal Agency for Mineral Resources, Evgeny Kiselev.
"Right now the task is to establish relations with new experts, and we will develop all further cooperation at the next meeting. The 45th session will be held in n November, and I hope that I will still be able to get there," the Minister added.
Donskoy said earlier Russia hopes that the decision on the Russian application will be made before the change of the commission’s members. However,  later he said that the timing of consideration of the Russian application could be shifted, it was not possible to take a decision before changing the UN commission.

Russian application

In August 2015, Russia sent an application to expand the boundaries of the continental shelf in the Arctic by 1.2 million square km to the UN Commission. According to the lowest estimates, this will allow to increase potential hydrocarbon reserves by 5 billion tonnes of fuel equivalent.
According to the international law, the North Pole and the adjacent region of the Arctic Ocean do not belong to any country. Norway, USA, Canada and Denmark also claim different parts of the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. The interest is dictated by the fact that the area offers 83 billion tonnes of conventional fuel, including around 80% in the Barents sea and the Kara sea. At the same time, probability of discovering new large oil and gas fields on practically unexplored shelf regions is very high.

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