The Russian Shelf-2010 expedition that finished in mid-October will strengthen effective competition among subarctic countries, a Russian Defense Ministry official said on Friday.
The Russian research vessel Akademik Fedorov left Arkhangelsk in late July for a three-month expedition to the Arctic to ascertain the borders of Russia's continental shelf.
"The step we have taken may lead to very serious consequences for all of our neighbors," said Alexander Shemetov, acting head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Department of Navigation and Oceanography. "The step that Russia took will give rise to healthy competition... and then our neighbors will start to work more zealously to assert their interests in the Arctic."
The work carried out during the expedition will allow Russia to "assess its north, to give a more realistic estimation to the country's economic development prospects and to strengthen Russia's defense potential," he added.
Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway are seeking to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to contain rich oil and gas deposits. The vast hydrocarbon deposits will become more accessible as rising global temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.
Russia and Canada are in dispute over the Lomonosov ridge, with both countries trying to persuade a UN commission that it is an extension of its own continental shelf. Russia and Canada's foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Lawrence Canon, have agreed that scientific evidence should resolve the dispute.
Russia has said it would spend some 1.5 billion rubles ($50 million) this year as part of work to define the extent of its Arctic continental shelf.
ST. PETERSBURG, October 22 (RIA Novosti)