October 4 , 07
Russian Artic Claim Could net 5 Billion Tons of Extra Fuel

Russia's natural resources minister said Monday the development of the Lomonosov underwater mountain chain in the Arctic could bring Russia up to 5 billion metric tons of equivalent fuel. "Reaching the Lomonosov ridge means for Russia potentially up to 5 billion tons of equivalent fuel," Yury Trutnev said during an online Internet conference.

The Natural Resources Ministry said in September that preliminary results of research carried out by Russian scientists will allow the country to claim 1.2 million sq km (460,000 sq miles) of potentially energy-rich Arctic territory.

Russia's Oceanology research institute has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge this summer - on orders from the ministry to back Russian claims to the region, believed to contain vast oil and gas reserves and other mineral riches, likely to become accessible in future decades due to man-made global warming.

Researchers conducted deepwater seismic probes, aerial and geophysical surveys, and seismic-acoustic probes on the Akademik Fedorov and Rossiya icebreakers.

The ministry said scientists would deliver the final research results in December 2007.

In August, Russian researchers also descended 4,200 meters (14,000 feet) below the North Pole in two minisubs to take seabed samples to bolster the claim to the Polar territory.

Earlier, Alexei Varlamov, a deputy natural resources minister, said 80 million tons of oil and 426 billion cu m of gas would be added to Russian reserves on the country's oil and gas fields, bringing Russia an additional 1.35 billion metric tons of equivalent fuel.