August 24, 2011

Denmark Wants A Piece Of The North Pole


Denmark - along with Greenland and the Faroe Islands, part of the Kingdom of Denmark - is looking to put itself on a collision course with four other nations, the United States, Russia, Norway, and Canada. All five countries are trying to lay claim to the Arctic Seabed, including the area around the North Pole.

The document, called the Joint Arctic Strategy for 2011-2020 of the Kingdom of Denmark, was signed by Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen, Prime Minister of the Faroe Government Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen and the Premier of Greenland, Kuupik Kleist, according to Rianovosti.

According to the AFP news agency, the five countries have claims in the region, where melting polar ice and new technologies have made the “high north” easier to access and has fueled competition for untapped oil and gas reserves. The Arctic Seabed is estimated to contain about 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 percent of the world´s undiscovered gas resources, per the US Geological Survey.

The North Pole seabed itself is believed to not hold much in untapped reserves, but holds symbolic value. According to AFP, in 2007 Russia sent a mini-submarine to the seabed and planted a Russian flag.

Lene Espersen said, “The strategy is needed at a time of major changes in the Arctic. Not least because of climate change and melting ice. We are facing big new challenges but also great new opportunities, and we want to strengthen our common engagement in the development in the Arctic.”

Denmark has until 2014 to make its claim to the Arctic region, ten years after they ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2004.