International cooperation
Decision on Russia’s Arctic shelf expansion bid expected in 18 to 24 months
© RIA Novosti. Ilya Timin

Decision on Russia’s Arctic shelf expansion bid expected in 18 to 24 months

The UN commission is likely to make a decision on Russia's bid for the expansion of its Arctic shelf in 18 to 24 months at best, according to Vladimir Barbin, ambassador at large with the Russian Foreign Ministry and Russia's senior official at the Arctic Council.

In 2015, Russia submitted a revised bid to expand the boundaries of its continental shelf in the Arctic by consolidating it with the underwater Lomonosov Ridge that extends toward the North Pole and other geological features. The Russian diplomat said it was necessary to wait for the recommendations of the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

"I believe that in our case we'll have to wait for at least 18 to 24 months," said Barbin at a news conference held at Rossiya Segodnya. "The process may even be more protracted as the commission has to look into a huge amount of materials."

He added that Russia believed that all Arctic-related issues could be resolved on the basis of international law.

In 2001, Russia laid claim to a section of the shelf, including the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge, which are rich in hydrocarbons, however, its bid was rejected because of insufficient geological evidence. New expeditions to the North Pole, geological and geophysical research in the Arctic Ocean into the geology of the Mendeleev Ridge and the Lomonosov Ridge, as well as bathymetric surveys took over 10 years to complete. Probable hydrocarbon reserves in the area are estimated at 4.9 billion metric tons of equivalent fuel.