International cooperation
Scientists from Russia, Canada, Denmark, the US and Sweden will discuss Arctic shelf issues in 2018
© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Danichev

Scientists from Russia, Canada, Denmark, the US and Sweden will discuss Arctic shelf issues in 2018

Expert involving Canadian, Danish, US and Norwegian scientists will start in 2018 to discuss the issues of the allegiance of underwater tectonic structures in the Arctic Ocean to various sections of the Arctic shelf, Leopold Lobkovsky, member of the team that prepared the Russian Academy of Sciences' submission and Deputy Director of Geology at Shirshov Oceanology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA Novosti.

During the 45th session of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which will take place in New York on November 13-17, the last two geographical points in Russia's Arctic shelf expansion bid will be considered. Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi will take part in the meeting.

"Norway and Denmark have also submitted bids to set the outer limits of the Arctic continental shelf to the UN Commission, Canada is expected to do so in the near future, and the US later. We will have to consult with all these countries, agree upon our submission, taking into account our common problems related to the Lomonosov and Alfa-Mendelyev ridges, which are parts of various continental edges of the Arctic Ocean. We are planning to begin these consultations next year," Lobkovsky said.

He added that such talks may take years, with sanctions further complicating matters. Next year, Russia will continue to discuss its submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

"It would be difficult to find a consensus fast. Today there are certain differences in how to interpret the geological and geophysical data received, as well as how the Arctic's geological evolution concept to be construed. It is hardly possible for the UN Commission to approve our bid without securing approval of Canada, Denmark and the US. The Commission will fasten eyes on them, and disputes will start," the scientist noted, adding that ultimately all obstacles will be overcome and the UN Commission will accept the bid.

In 2015, Russia submitted its revised Arctic shelf expansion bid, which included the underwater Lomonosov Ridge starting at the North Pole, and other formations. According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to expand the shelf it is necessary to prove the continental nature of geological structures at the bottom of the ocean adjacent the ridge.