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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Special Volumes


Pub. Id: A108 (1973)

First Page: 646

Last Page: 670

Book Title: M 19: Arctic Geology

Article/Chapter: Arctic Geopolitics: Economics of Petroleum Exploration and Production in the Arctic

Subject Group: Geologic History and Areal Geology

Spec. Pub. Type: Memoir

Pub. Year: 1973

Author(s): Howard A. Meyerhoff (2), A. A. Meyerhoff (3)


The Arctic region is all of the earth north of 60°N lat.--an area of 14 million sq mi (36.4 million sq km), or 7 percent of the world's surface area and 14 percent of its land area.

Russia fronts 52 percent of the Arctic Ocean and has jurisdiction over 70 percent of the continental shelves. Moreover, of the approximately 256 million persons living in the six Arctic nations, 244 million are citizens of the USSR. It is plain from these statistics that Russia's position in the Arctic is not just predominant; it is overwhelming.

The same statement is true of the mineral resources of the Arctic. Although not well explored, Russia's nonhydrocarbon mineral wealth probably is proportionate to her Arctic area. Russia's hydrocarbon reserves are far out of proportion to the area controlled; for example, proved plus probable reserves in the West Siberian basin alone are double those of the entire U.S.

Control of the Arctic, therefore, is vital to Russia, but despite her much greater population, she does not yet have manpower to develop and control the Arctic. Development of Arctic resources will take place best in an atmosphere of international peace and cooperation.

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