United States, Russia took new steps in the Arctic

According to US official sources, approximately 20% of the world’s oil and gas supplies could be found in the Arctic region. Now that the region has become a strategic issue, data delivered in March 2015 by the advisory bureau of the US Department of Energy (DOE) considered that in order to “remain globally competitive, (…) the United States should facilitate exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic now.” This has apparently become a reality since the oil company Royal Dutch Shell has got a final clearance from Washington to re-start – halted in 2012 – drilling for oil in the Artic.

On Moscow’s side, the Kremlin which still excludes any drilling by private companies is concentrating its efforts at the UN. On August 5, 2015, Russian Minister for Natural Resources Sergey Donskoi announced the submission of new data to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) according to which “a considerable part of the Arctic Ocean bed is the natural continuation of the Russian part of the Eurasian continent.” This way, Russia hopes to get full sovereignty over that area which is about 1 million km². The UN Secretariat is said to examine Russia’s application in the spring of 2016.