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Russia To Deploy Specialist Troops To Safeguard Oil-rich Arctic Region

Among predictions of a competition between nations for oil reserves in the North pole, Russia Friday said it is planning to deploy specialist troops in the oil rich Arctic region to safeguard its interests. U.S, Canada, Finland, Norway and Sweden already have troops to protect their polar regions. Apart from these countries, Denmark also have claim over Arctic coastline.

According to Russian Defense minister Anatoly Sedyukov, two army brigades would be sent to the region. The strength of the troops, their base and weapons would be decided later, he added.

Arctic region has been a place of dispute, as it contains almost a quarter of World's oil and gas reserve. It is believed that more than 90 billion barrels of oil reserves are their in this region. Some three years back, Russia's national security council had made it clear that the Arctic region would be its main resource base. Moscow was looking forward to extracting this potential by 2020.

Moscow has been vying for oil and gas drilling opportunities in the Arctic. In the recent years, melting down of arctic ice cap has increased the chances of exploring the abundant natural wealth underneath the ice covered Northern pole. The climatic changes have opened up new sea routes and fishing grounds in the region and made access to the Arctic easier. With a much thinner layer of ice over vast areas of reserve, which were inaccessible earlier, drilling would be more viable in next decades.

Recently, Russia reached a settlement on Barents Sea, with its neighbor Norway. Since 1970, the two countries have been in dispute over the 68,000 square miles of rich undersea deposit. However, the settlement does not address Russia's major claim over a huge undersea ridge, which runs up to the North pole. In order to cap their claim, Russia had used a miniature submarine in 2007 to plant titanium flags on the ocean floor.

Rosneft, a Russian oil company has announced a tie up with BP plc (BP, BP_UN.TO,BP.L) to start drilling in its Arctic far north regions. Scientist believe that ice in these regions would disappear by 2030.

While talking to party congress in the Ural mountains on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that it would build a year-round port in Yamal Peninsula, at a projected cost of $33 billion. Putin has also noted that Russia will strongly and persistently defend its interest in the region.

A meeting of Arctic Council members in May has discussed the territorial claims and future security issues of the regions.

It is believed that production of oil around the globe will start an irreversible decline in next few years after an imminent peak. This would lead to a struggle for energy resources and those countries having most access to energy reserves would emerge as vibrant economies.

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