MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian scientists may need to carry out more Arctic shelf research in order to bolster the country's official claim for large swathes of seabed, polar explorer Artur Chilingarov told RIA Novosti Thursday.
"The claim is ready but there are certain objections. It is possible that we will have to conduct field work next year. We cannot make a mistake. It is under discussion if the claim submission should be moved to the next year. I do not rule out its submission in 2015," Chilingarov who is a Special Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic, said.
"Arctic expeditions can only be carried out from July-September, or earlier, if there are ice-breakers. We are considering the issue right now," Chilingarov said.
The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is responsible for preparing the application to the UN. The document has to be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that it can be submitted to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, according to the explorer.
In April, Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi said that Russia plans to finalize its official claim this fall and hand it over to the UN next spring.
Moscow filed its claim to a part of the Artic continental shelf including the Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges in 2011, but the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf said that it needed further scientific backing.
Scientists have to prove that the underwater ridges are extensions of the Eurasian continent, thus linked to Russia's territory. The shelf, which is believed to hold some five million tons of hydrocarbon reserves, is a lucrative resource-rich zone.