Shmal: Russia has high chances of expanding its Arctic continental shelf
© RIA Novosti. Aleksandr Utkin

Shmal: Russia has high chances of expanding its Arctic continental shelf

The Russian Federation has high chances of winning its bid to expand its continental shelf in the Arctic, Gennady Shmal, president of the Union of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia, said at the international conference, "Arctic and Shelf Projects: Prospects, Innovations and Development of the Russian Regions" on February 18. The bid was submitted to the UN headquarters in New York on February 9.

"The bid was backed with recent research evidence and serious arguments. If these issues are not too politicized, then of course there is a chance. But if politics prevail, it could be difficult," Shmal said.

According to RIA Novosti, Russia has submitted a research-based bid to expand the area of its shelf by 1.191 mln sq km inside the Murmansk-North Pole-Chukotka triangle. If accepted, potential hydrocarbon deposits are estimated at nearly 5 billion metric tons of standard fuel.

According to Article 76 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, "the continental shelf of a coastal State comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin."

A coastal state can claim the part of the shelf within 200 nautical miles from the shore. In certain circumstances, "the continental shelf shall not exceed 350 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. This paragraph does not apply to submarine elevations that are natural components of the continental margin," the convention states.