Aside from the cold war with America over the Arctic, Russia is also having a tense relationship with Canada.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird made an announcement regarding their territorial claim on the icy but resource rich Arctic. Baird says that it will try to extend its claims in the Arctic all the way to the North Pole, although the area hasn’t been fully mapped yet and scientific evidence supporting the claim is still incomplete.
Canadian Federal scientists were instructed do more work, following a decade of exercise in mapping the continental shelf.
The United Nations Commission received a formal scientific submission on the Limits of The Continental shelf tackling the territorial claims in the Atlantic, but the Canadian government has admitted that what they passed for the Arctic Ocean is still preliminary.
“That’s why we’ve asked our officials and scientists to do additional and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada’s claim to the North Pole,” Baird said.
This is an excerpt from the Toronto Star:
Baird did not dispute published reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper stepped in at the last minute to insist that the North Pole be included in Canada’s claim after the scientific assessment put the boundary just south the pole.
The undersea Lomonosov Ridge runs from near Ellesmere Island under the magnetic pole and would be the geological basis for a Canadian territorial claim.
“The reality is the Lomonosov Ridge wasn’t fully mapped in the submissions that my department did,” Baird said. “And frankly we think it’s important when you do this extensive mapping, we wanted to get the entire Arctic map, including on the ridge.”
It’s no secret that the Arctic is an area full of hidden treasures like oil and natural gases, which, thanks to global warming, are now easier and cheaper to access. In 2007, Russia planted a flag on the sea floor 14,000 below the surface. Then Prime Minister of Canada Peter MacKay dismissed the claim saying “This isn’t the 15th century. You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘We’re claiming this territory.’ ”
Russia also made a remark after Canada’s recent announcement on its claims on the Arctic. President Vladimir Putin said that they will increase their military presence on the disputed region. “Putin also said that Russia will restore a number of Arctic military air bases that fell into neglect after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.”
Norway, Denmark, and the United States, countries which have jurisdiction over Greenland have also staked their claims to parts of the Arctic. Lately, the Chinese government also voiced their interest on the region as well.
According to Forbes.com, the Arctic is the last region of significant size to be explored for oil. The Arctic is assumed to contain a supply of 1-3 year worth of oil and another 7- 27 years supply of gas. It’s also predicted to produce 50 billion barrels of oil and 1000 TCF of gas.