Tuesday, 09 February 2016 00:00

The Arctic as a region of strategic importance

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One of the most important both from the economic and from the geostrategic point of view the world regions are the Arctic, the development of which in recent years becomes very high value. The important role in the development of historically belongs to Russia, much of which includes areas of the Arctic region.

The region's economic potential is huge. Potential reserves of natural energy resources in the Arctic zone are measured in volume: 90 billion barrels of oil, accounting for 13% of undiscovered world oil reserves, is 47.3 trillion m3 of natural gas, accounting for 30% of the world's undiscovered gas reserves, 44 billion barrels of gas condensate.

Among the countries of the five Arctic reserves of oil and gas in the Arctic are divided in the following proportions: Russia — 52%; USA 20%; Norway 12%; Greenland — 11%; Canada — 5%.

Recoverable oil and gas resources of the continental shelf of the Arctic zone of Russia are: crude Oil — 13 billion tons of oil equivalent; Gas is 70 billion tons of conditional fuel.

Estimated value of mineral raw materials in the Arctic zone of Russia is 30 trillion dollars, from them of explored raw materials only 2 trillion Of them, 2/3 of reserves accounted for by the energy

In addition to the natural hydrocarbons of the nature of the Arctic is rich in other minerals. Thus, the share of the Arctic zone of Russia in the Russian mining resources is: antimony – 100%; platinum – more than 95%; Nickel – 90%; gas 80%; copper – more than 60%.

On the Arctic zone of Russia accounts for 12-15% of Russian GDP and about 25% of Russian exports.

Arctic States are considered to be the Russian Federation, Norway, Canada, Denmark and the USA. The legal regime of the Arctic is defined by applicable rules of international Maritime law and national legislation of the Arctic States.

The United Nations Convention on the law of the sea 1982 provides for special rights of Arctic States in the field of regulation of navigation in sea areas at its Northern coast. In accordance with the Convention, coastal States have the right to adopt and enforce non-discriminatory laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution from vessels in ice-covered areas within the exclusive economic zone.

In 1996, the Arctic eight (A8): Russia, Canada, United States of America, Denmark (including Greenland and Faroe Islands), Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden was formed the Arctic Council is an intergovernmental circumpolar organization of States acting in the sphere of environmental protection and sustainable development of the region.

Passes through the Arctic Transpolar air link (the shortest way between North America and Asia) and the Northern sea route — the shortest sea route between East Asia and Europe.

As part of the development of the region is of great importance is the need to study fundamental issues of delivery and provision in the region of various equipment and airplanes, the organization which has a number of features (transportation, loading, unloading (articulated equipment – especially), the organization of material security and the normal functioning of the equipment, ensuring the resource base).

In addition, special attention is paid to the solution of logistics tasks associated with the need to ensure issues relating to the priority directions of state policy in the Arctic. This efficient use of the resource base, socio-economic development of the region, the introduction of new technologies, development of telecommunications, international cooperation.

Of particular importance is the need to develop a unified national transport network, including the upgrading of the material base (fleet), development of satellite navigation and communication systems, improvement of security technologies.

Organization of security in the region, including the Arctic region of Russia directly, includes delivery by rail, by truck, container passage, assistance in obtaining documents and conducting negotiations, consulting-legal support, warehouse logistics, customs clearance, project logistics.

Currently in the Arctic region is the development of new major centres of hydrocarbon production (Gas, Tumuaki, Messoyakhsky, Kamennomysskoe).

In the long term perhaps the construction of processing facilities, focused on the transition of export-commodity market model to the more advanced forms of economic development.

Increase of efficiency of use of economic factors, including depends on systematic updating of the requirements to vessels passing through the Northern sea route, taking into account changing climatic conditions, ecological situation in the region, etc.

However, for solving complex tasks requires improvement of human resources in the field of Maritime activities in the Arctic. Required training of the personnel to work offshore and in the oceans, and research personnel and lecturers for higher school, specialists in subsea technologies, LNG technologies and a number of other fronts. Today training are Murmansk state technical University, Russian state University of oil and gas named after I. M. Gubkin and the school of vocational education Federal state unitary enterprise "Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka". An interesting project was the creation in 2001 of the University of the Arctic, bringing together 136 of educational and scientific institutions of Russia, Canada, Denmark, USA, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden. Scientific and educational cooperation in the training of civilian specialists could be another key to international integration in the region and serve to effectively utilize its resources.

However, the Russian Arctic is under close attention to foreign – aircraft, ships and submarines of NATO countries and representatives of various scientific organizations and NGOs are actively exploring the Arctic space. As we strengthen our presence in the region similar activity will only grow, so the Russian capacity to prevent disputes and eliminate possible threats should be strengthened all along the Northern sea route.

Increasing the number of military exercises in the Arctic zone with the participation of foreign States, while activity in the U.S., Canada and Denmark even exceed the level of activity during the cold war. The Arctic States are rapidly modernizing its own armed forces, including with the possibility of solving problems in the region. The situation is complicated by the absence of an effective international security regimes in the Arctic, as well as the increasingly active behavior of outside countries which will support those players who will offer them the best terms of participation in Arctic projects. Therefore, Russia should assume a leading role in the formation and systematization of the whole "Arctic subsystem of international relations", using your authority, capability and competitive advantage.

The Arctic is home to enterprises of defense industry, base of the Northern fleet and military infrastructure, the state border of Russia for 20 thousand kilometers passes through the Arctic ocean. Equally important, though less critical to the country's security, scientific and environmental interests. In 2006 was published the Concept of sustainable development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, which defined long-term objectives and principles of state policy in the region.

In addition, adjacent to the Arctic territories are the components of the system of missile attack warning the US and Russia, as well as the interceptor missiles the USA (Alaska) and Russia (the coast of the Arctic ocean). In Greenland there is the airbase Thule.

In the southern part of Novaya Zemlya is the Russian nuclear test site. The home base of the Northern fleet of the Russian Navy ZATO Severomorsk in the Murmansk region. In 2013, Russia began the reconstruction of the military base on the new Siberian Islands (kotelny Islands). In particular, we are talking about the reconstruction of airdrome Temp to the kotelny island. The database will be upgraded using new technologies that will give the opportunity to use all year round and in all weather conditions, transport aircraft An-26, An-72, An-74, and in the future Il-76. Delivery of cargo to the airfield "Temp" currently implemented by the mixed aviation group, based at the airfield Tiksi in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking at the forum "the Arctic – territory of dialogue" in Salekhard, said that "the airfield is important as a supporting element in the development of transport infrastructure in the Arctic. And, of course, will be to serve science as a base for Arctic expeditions and scientific research".

Also it is planned to create seven Northern airfields located in the cities of Tiksi (Yakutia), Naryan-Mar, Alykel (Taimyr), Amderma,Anadyr (Chukotka), and also in the village of Rogachevo and Nagurskaya on the frontier (Franz-Joseph)

In 2007, Canada announced the strengthening of its presence in the Arctic (Resolute).

Arctic powers hold regular military exercises in the region.

In 2013, Russia conducted a military exercise with use of the cruiser "Peter the Great" and nuclear submarine "eagle" and "Voronezh". Was also carried out launches of cruise missiles.

Canada also undertook in 2011, Nanook of the teachings [and in 2013 — "Nunalivut" c practicing landing on the island of Cornwallis and Ellef-Ringnes.

In 2013 it was the teachings of "Arctic challenge" (eng. Arctic Challenge) with the participation of the air forces of Finland, Sweden, UK and USA. The territory of the exercises covered Gulf of Bothnia and the Norwegian part of the Barents sea. Also in 2013, the UK conducted an exercise Cetus 13, where detection and landing in conditions of -30 °C at landfills in Northern Norway.

Currently completed modernization of the runway (runway) at the airport-based dual "Rogachevo" ("Amderma-2"), which is located on the Peninsula of Goose Land. There is likely to be deployed several squadrons of fighter-interceptors MiG-31. These interceptors will be part of the missile defence system will protect Russia's borders from air attack from the North and perform a cover located on Novaya Zemlya nuclear test site ("Object 700").

At high latitudes will be actively used ATVs, snowmobiles, swamp buggies, and develop telemedicine to assist military personnel. In other words, all objects will be build up for long-term use with highest possible comfort.

It is possible that in the coming years the military will also restore the world's most northerly ice airport on the island of greem-bell in the archipelago of Franz-Joseph. During Soviet times, it was the jump airfield for strategic bombers, the distance to the North pole is 896 kilometers. In the late 1980-ies there were teachings relating to the basing of the MiG-31 could intercept U.S. aircraft long before its possible approach to the Central regions of the Russian Federation.

Russia still relies on the air force as an important element of show of force. In 2007, for the first time after disintegration of the USSR Russian strategic bombers Tu-95MS made a departure from the Engels base in the Arctic zone.

A large part of the Russian armed forces in the Arctic zone - two brigades of infantry and a brigade of Marines, stationed in the Murmansk region. However "fundamentals of state policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the period till 2020 and further perspective" provide for strengthening coast guards and border control, as well as the organization of technical control over the Straits, mouths of rivers, estuaries throughout the Northern sea route. However, due to the complex conditions of a large-scale military build-up unproductive, seems more effective strengthening controls over air, water and land spaces, as well as placement of units for special tasks.

Center for information and legal support of development of the Arctic

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