With Russia planting its flag 14,000 feet under the North Pole yesterday, oil and gas exploration and conflict over territorial rights in the vast Arctic ocean basin is just beginning.
“The Arctic is one of the last frontiers, representing about 25 percent of the last unexplored potential oil and gas reserves in the world,” says Michael Byers, Canada research chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia
Sovereignty Claims Revived in the Arctic
By Stephen Leahy
(Originally published in 2006)
TORONTO, Apr 22 (Tierramérica) – An expedition is under way to help Canada and Denmark prove their sovereignty over certain areas of this frozen region, and its potential sources of petroleum and natural gas.
Canada and Denmark launched a joint expedition in early April to map the floor of the Arctic Ocean and help the two countries prove their claims of sovereignty over areas potentially rich in petroleum and natural gas.
As the months-long winter darkness lifts in Canada’s vast Arctic region, helicopters and airplanes are busy ferrying scientists and seismic survey equipment from the two countries for this project costing 50 to 60 million dollars.
No one knows where Canada ends. Its northern boundary has never been mapped because it’s covered year round in a blanket of ice five to 10 meters thick.
Although located in Northern Europe, Denmark still considers Greenland, the world’s largest island that lies a few dozen kilometers from Canada’s Arctic islands, as Danish territory.
The expedition is a unique, cooperative effort, even though the two countries have overlapping territorial claims,” said Rob Huebert, a professor at the Arctic Institute of North America, located at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
By working together, Canada and Denmark can share the costs and agree on the science,” Huebert told Tierramérica.
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