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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 63 (1979)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 524

Last Page: 524

Title: Legal and Political Status of Antarctica: ABSTRACT

Author(s): R. Tucker Scully

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Interest in the possible hydrocarbon and other mineral resource potential of Antarctica has emerged as forecasts of resource scarcity stimulate the search for new sources of supply. In addition to geologic, environmental, economic, and technologic factors, the political and legal status of Antarctica will have an important influence on determining if and when mineral-resource activities take place there. In 1959, the 12 nations then engaged in scientific research activities in Antarctica concluded the Antarctic Treaty. Seven of those nations claim territorial sovereignty over portions of Antarctica; five nations, including the United States, neither assert nor recognize such claims. The Antarctic Treaty establishes a basis for international cooperation in Antarctica. It s ts aside Antarctica and the waters south of 60° S lat. for peaceful purposes only and guarantees the freedom of scientific research throughout Antarctica. The treaty provides for regular meetings of the parties enjoying consultative status (the original 12 plus 1) to recommend measures to their governments in furtherance of the principles and purposes of the treaty. For those matters it deals with, the treaty holds in abeyance the respective positions of claimants and non-claimants to territorial sovereignty. However, it does not address the question of resource activities in Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties have been engaged in discussions of a possible regime to govern exploration and exploitation of Antarctic mineral resources. The parties have recommended th t exploration and exploitation activities not take place while progress is being made toward the timely adoption of an agreed regime.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists