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Russia may disregard international law and environment to get Antarctica’s oil

Tuesday

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Antartica, the most remote continent on Earth, is home to one of the planet’s most valuable resources, and Russia may be willing to decimate the environment and break international law to tap into the supply. Russian research vessels have reportedly identified 511 billion barrels of oil in Antarctica, a discovery valued at nearly $41 trillion.

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That amount of oil is roughly 10 times greater than the entire 50-year output of the North Sea, which contains most of the world’s reserves.

European policymakers have raised concerns over Moscow’s intentions in surveying the area, with officials at the Commons Environment Audit Committee speculating the aim might eventually be to drill the region for fossil fuels.

Such an operation would be a breach of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, a landmark accord that prohibits any mining activities on the continent in order to preserve its pristine environment for scientific research and peaceful purposes.

The prospect of Russia disregarding this treaty in pursuit of oil extraction could also have serious environmental consequences, as scientists warn that drilling in Antartica could result in irreversible ecological damage.

While Russia currently possesses significant oil reserves that could keep the nation supplied for an another estimated 60 years, economists say the supply may be dwindling. Factors such as fluctuating oil prices in recent years and geopolitical tensions, including Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the resulting Western sanctions, have heightened Moscow’s interest in diversifying its energy sources.

Analysts contend that even a drop of just $5 in the price of oil per barrel could cost Russia almost $11 billion, and a decrease of $15 would be an expense for the nation that exceeds $20 billion. It is a situation that may cause Russian officials to eventually see mining Antarctica as a necessary solution.

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IT’S THE COLDEST PLACE ON EARTH.

FEATURING TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW MINUS 100 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT, THE BARREN CONTINENT OF ANTARCTICA IS HOME TO ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE RESOURCES.

AND RUSSIA MAY BE WILLING TO DECIMATE THE ENVIRONMENT AND BREAK INTERNATIONAL TREATIES TO GET IT.

HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON:

RUSSIAN RESEARCH VESSELS REPORTEDLY DISCOVERED OVER 500 BILLION BARRELS OF OIL IN ANTARCTICA.

VALUED AT NEARLY 41 TRILLION DOLLARS, IT’S ROUGHLY 10 TIMES GREATER THAN THE ENTIRE 50 YEAR OUTPUT OF THE NORTH SEA-
WHICH CONTAINS MOST OF THE PLANET’S OIL RESERVES.

SURVEY WORK ISN’T ILLEGAL BUT DRILLING IS – AND EUROPEAN POLICYMAKERS ARE RAISING CONCERNS ABOUT RUSSIA’S INTENTIONS.ANY WORK TO GET THAT OIL WOULD BE A BREACH OF THE 19-59 ANTARCTIC TREATY, WHICH PLACED A PERMANENT BAN ON MINING IN THE REGION.

SCIENTISTS SAY DRILLING WOULD CAUSE SIGNIFICANT DISTURBANCES AND IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT.

WHILE MOSCOW CONTROLS ENOUGH OIL ALREADY TO KEEP ITSELF SUPPLIED FOR THE NEXT 60 YEARS, ECONOMISTS SAY THOSE RESERVES MIGHT BE DWINDLING.

THEY BELIEVE EVEN A DROP OF JUST FIVE DOLLARS IN THE PRICE OF OIL PER BARREL COULD COST RUSSIA ALMOST 11 BILLION DOLLARS.

WITH AN ONGOING WAR IN UKRAINE AND THE RESULTING WESTERN TRADE SANCTIONS FURTHER LIMITING THEIR OIL SUPPLY-
RUSSIAN OFFICIALS MAY EVENTUALLY SEE MINING ANTARCTICA AS A NECESSARY SOLUTION.

JACK AYLMER – STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.