The discovery of large hydrocarbon deposits in the Arctic has sparked international competition over resources in frozen waters. Regional powers are quickly filing claims for the sea shelf, with Russia preparing to bring in the biggest bid to the UN.
The US wants to play a leading role in exploring the Arctic but doesn’t have enough facilities or resources, and basically lags behind Russia, Edward Struzik, leading researcher of the Arctic region, told RT.
In anticipation of international military drills in the Arctic this year, the US Navy has developed a detailed plan to establish a massive presence in the region. The road map says urgent investments are required to avoid higher future costs.
Russia is creating a new command for the armed forces to defend Russia’s strategic interests in the Arctic region, based on the present Northern Fleet Navy division and include various existing Arctic-based military units as well as new formations.
Royal Dutch Shell has decided to suspend its controversial plan to drill in Alaska. The decision by a US court to uphold an appeal challenging exploration licenses in the area has eroded the project’s viability according to the company.
Following a recent scandal involving Greenpeace activists and a Russian Arctic offshore platform, parliamentarians suggested punishing unauthorized entry to oil and gas installations on the continental shelf with up to five years in prison.
Russia will create forces in the Arctic in 2014 to ensure military security and protect the country’s national interests in the region, which President Vladimir Putin has named among the government’s top priorities.
Canadian officials confirmed Monday that the nation is preparing to include the North Pole as part of its Arctic Ocean seabed claim in the multi-country push to prove jurisdiction over further territory in the resource-rich area.
Russia should retain and utilize its position in the Arctic not only for economic but also for security reasons and to preserve its national identity and integrity, the Russian President has announced.
The US wants to be “very involved” in Arctic waters, as melting ice caps open opportunities for sea routes, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said. However, unlike other Arctic nations such as Russia, the Americans still lack the necessary hardware.