Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.


Far East bonanza: Resource-rich Sea of Okhotsk all Russian, UN confirms

Published time: March 15, 2014 11:20
RIA Novosti/Sergey Krivosheyev

RIA Novosti/Sergey Krivosheyev

A UN maritime commission has confirmed that 52,000 square kilometers in the middle of the Sea of Okhotsk in the Far East is now Russian continental shelf, opening the way for massive oil and gas exploration.

The enclave in the middle of the Okhotsk Sea has been recognized as part of Russia’s continental shelf in accordance with the UN Maritime Convention of 1982. So far the zone lay outside Russian jurisdiction because a part of the sea was not covered by the 200 nautical mile zone internationally recognized as area of exclusive economic interest.

“This event has effectively taken place,” Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy told journalists, stressing that the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf had made a “unanimous decision" which is "unconditional and has no retroactive effect.”

The minister said that from now on Russian laws are applied to all natural resources under the Okhotsk seabed. The new enclave that has been integrated into Russia is comparable to a territory of a European state like Switzerland, Netherlands or Slovakia.

The original application for the Okhotsk shelf was filed to the UN in 2001.

In November 2013, when the UN agreed with arguments presented by Russia that 52,000 square kilometers of the Sea of Okhotsk, which borders Japan, is part of the country’s continental shelf, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry described the enclave as a “real Ali Baba’s cave” since it has “plentiful precious minerals and natural resources.”

The 1.6 million square kilometers of the Okhotsk Sea have been poorly explored so far, so the area holds tremendous potential.

Up to 40 percent of the newly integrated maritime territory could hold natural resources, Russia 24 TV channel cited Geology and Geophysics expert Vladimir Glotov as saying.

Seabed oil deposits situated next to the Russian port of Magadan in the Sea of Okhotsk could reach up to 3 billion barrels of hydrocarbons. The first research work on the prospective Magadan-2 and Magadan-3 offshore blocks were held last summer. The research data is now being processed in E&P laboratories.

The Sea of Okhotsk has traditionally been known for its offshore fishing. The sea is rich in various kinds of fish, shellfish and crabs. before the UN ruling, Russian fishermen did not have the right to fish the whole sea.

In the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, poachers from various countries, particularly from Asia, used the loophole that the Sea of Okhotsk is not Russia’s internal sea to claim fishing rights in the area. Moscow had to distribute fishing quotas to prevent over-fishing of the sea.

From now on, Russian fisherman will be able to increase fishing volumes, because now they have the exclusive right to work in the middle of the sea, an area previously used predominantly by foreign fishing vessels.

Possession of the Sea of Okhotsk also puts the onus on Russian to protect the maritime environment and biodiversity of the sea, which includes orcas and whales, rare fish and shellfish species.

According to Donskoy, the UN decision is also “the first step in our Arctic applications, which will be ready in the near future.”

Russia’s Arctic claims include the huge seabed area of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Dome, which reach out into the floor of the Arctic Ocean as part of Russia’s continental shelf. Other countries that have claims on the Arctic seabed include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

Comments (24)


Richard Mccarty 17.03.2014 00:32

Russian gov. Is going to be richer than the Arabs. I suppose oil company's in the world will be on their knees begging . Russia should tell world to eat tripe. No one was nice to Russia when it was down in the90s. Time for payback lmao.


Yakhont Upusass 16.03.2014 15:36

[quote name='James Piper' time='16.03.2014 15:14']

You 're a meathead plain and simple...

[ /quote]

Do US leaders have a history of treachery or not, plain and simple? They signed peace treaties with native Indians on respecting their land rights, only to trash the same after oil and gold was discovered on those lands, not to mention handing the Indians blankets laced with smallpox. Roosevelt lied to his own people about Pearl harbour..he knew in advance an attack was imminent, but let it happen anyway, so that the US could join the war? Recall Iraq's fake WMD? All those young men dead for what? Oil? Disgusting.


John Vorel 16.03.2014 15:15

I think these waters are too close to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Most sea life will be sick or dying. And divers who work in the waters will have to take iodine pills for the rest of their lives. I would not feel safe swallowing one drop of water there.

View all comments (24)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or



Show password


or Register

Request a new password


or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:


or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile



New password

Retype new password

Current password



Follow us

Follow us