International cooperation
Sergei Donskoi to discuss Russia’s Arctic shelf expansion bid at UN
© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Nikolskiy

Sergei Donskoi to discuss Russia’s Arctic shelf expansion bid at UN

Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi plans to visit the United Nations headquarters this fall to support Russia's bid to expand the boundaries of its continental shelf in the Arctic, RIA Novosti reports.

In February, Mr Donskoi presented a revised application for a broader continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. Russia is staking a claim to the seabed beyond the 200-nautical-mile area along the entire Russian polar sector, including the zone under the North Pole.

"I plan to make a trip to New York to attend the second session during which we will be answering questions. They (the subcommission's members — ed.) will formulate questions and pass them on to members of our delegation. The most interesting moment will be the question and answer period. This is when I would like to participate. Also, I want to see which way the wind is blowing," the minister said.

The bid will be discussed in two stages. In June-July, all subcommission members will review the request and prepare their questions. "If we are able, we will answer them right then and there. Otherwise, we will return to Moscow and St. Petersburg (there are different institutions working on the bid there), hold all the necessary discussions, make all the adjustments and go back to New York in the fall to present our answers there. If that is required, we will work on the issue," Mr Donskoi added.

In 2001, Russia submitted a claim for the hydro-carbon-rich shelf sector that includes the Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges. The bid was rejected for lack of information. It took more than 10 years to carry out new expeditions to the North Pole, conduct seismic, geological and geophysical research in the Arctic Ocean to study the geological composition of the Mendeleev and Lomonosov ridges, and complete a bathymetric survey. Based on the results, the revised bid was submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in August 2015.