Friday, July 27, 2007

Lomonosov Ridge and the Legal Battle for the North Pole

The North Pole may one day belong to a foreign power. The Lomonosov Ridge (map) has come under dispute by Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Russia. The argument is officially over whether or not the ridge underneath the pole is actually connected to a continental shelf thus falling under complex laws of which countries can control the sea and sea floor. The real reason is the estimated ten billion barrels of oil which could be drilled if a country had legal control.

Earlier Denmark announced its desire for the pole. Russia recently released a geological study claiming the ridge was part of the Asian continental shelf and therefore Russian.

Much like Danish-Canadian fights over the Arctic, this may seem pointless but never underestimate the desire to control territory and resources. This fight may also have a major affect on international travel. Flights from the Far East to the United States take the great circle route over and near the North Pole because of the international access. An aggressive Russia may one day cut off this path thus making it much more difficult and costly to send people and material across the world.

3 comments:

Dave said...

You make a good point about the potential transport ramifications of an aggressive Russia. The country has become increasingly assertive since Putin took office and the geological claim is the latest manifestation of this. It is even sending a mini-sub on July 28 to do a more detailed study of the sea bed. But does anybody really expect the scientists will come back dismissing the claim?

Anonymous said...

Your comments seem extremely biased.

Why is Denmark not 'aggressive' in having made claims in 2004, yet Russia is 'aggressive' in asserting its claim today, possibly in reaction to the 2004 claim by Denmark?

Try to be a little more objective and rational in your thinking.

Catholicgauze said...

Anonymous,

1. The aggressive word choice was in a hypothetical.

2. "Try to be a little more objective and rational in your thinking." I take it your new to the blog.