MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia plans to spend 2 trillion rubles ($63 billion) by 2020 on a strategic program to develop the Arctic, a senior government official said Friday.
Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyayev said the draft program for economic and social projects in the Arctic could be submitted to the Cabinet by November 1.
The government expects more than half the costs to be met by major Russian companies, he said.
One-third of funding is expected to come out of the federal budget, Slyunyayev said at the general assembly in Moscow of the Northern Forum, an international association devoted to supporting sustainable development in areas economically dependent on natural resources.
Arctic territories hold huge untapped natural resources and have been the subject of conflicting claims from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States in recent years. Rising temperatures have caused a reduction in sea ice, allowing easier access to lucrative offshore oil and gas deposits.