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Russia to file Arctic shelf claim by end of March 2015 — minister

December 16, 2014, 13:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Expansion of Russia's Arctic shelf boundaries will significantly increase the area of country's hydrocarbon production

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© AP Photo/Misha Japaridze

MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Russia will file a claim with the UN by the end of March 2015 to expand the boundaries of its continental Arctic shelf by 1.2 million square kilometres, Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy said on Tuesday.

This would significantly increase the area of country's hydrocarbon production, the minister said.

According to experts, the overall fuel and energy reserves in Russia’s Arctic exceed 1.6 trillion tons of equivalent fuel, while the continental shelf contains about a quarter of all of the world’s offshore reserves.

"We are drafting a document together with the Defense and Foreign Ministries and the Russian Academy of Sciences for submission to the UN Commission on the Limits and the Continental Shelf," Donskoy said.

He added that the claim should be filed in the first quarter of 2015 so that the commission could start discussing it during its summer session.

Denmark and Greenland, its autonomous independent territory, filed a claim with the UN on Monday to an area covering 895,541 square kilometers of the Arctic seabed that is 20 times larger than Denmark itself.

More than 50 offshore Russian Arctic wells to be drilled by 2020

Oil and gas companies working on Russia’s Arctic shelf plan to drill 36 prospecting wells and 15 exploratory wells by 2020.

Donskoy told Russia's Academy of Sciences that 594 oil fields and 159 gas fields as well as two major nickel fields and more than 350 gold deposits had been discovered in Russia’s Arctic zone. Initial recoverable fuel resources there were estimated at 258 billion tons of fuel equivalent, representing 60% of Russia’s total hydrocarbon resources.

The Arctic zone’s untapped potential reached over 90% of the shelf and 53% ashore, he told the audience. Recoverable oil reserves in the Russian Arctic totalled around 7.7 billion tons, including 500 million tons on the shelf.

Gas reserves amounted to 65 billion cubic meters, including 10 million on the shelf, the minister said. Geological exploration for oil and gas was carried out at 75 licensed sites, including transit licences.

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