MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s oil and gas extraction infrastructure in the Arctic could become a target for sabotage attempts by other countries as the race to exploit the Arctic shelf leads to conflicts of interest between competing nations, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday.
“The settlement of these conflicts could very easily exceed the boundaries of diplomacy. It’s quite possible that Russia’s oil and gas production facilities might see secret sabotage attempts by rival countries,” Rogozin, who is responsible for the defense industry in the government, said on Friday.
He added that Russia is not yet ready for such threats, which would require modern monitoring equipment able to operate both above ground and underwater.
According to Rogozin, Russia would need to identify the nature and source of the threat in order to strike back accordingly.
“NATO has long been discussing plans to reinforce the naval grouping in the Arctic region under the pretext of safeguarding commercial navigation,” Rogozin, who is Russia’s former envoy to Brussels, said without giving further details.
The race in the Arctic to exploit previously inaccessible resources, accounting for an estimated 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas, has accelerated in recent years. Russian energy giants Gazprom and Rosneft have obtained licenses to explore the Russian continental shelf – an initiative that has been strongly opposed by environmentalists.