To this day, six major oil and gas provinces and two oil and gas fields have been discovered, and the most likely estimate of the initial resources in them is 51 billion tonnes of oil and 87 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, the deputy director of the Institute of Oceanology for geological matters, Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Leopold Lobkovsky told the International Arctic Forum in Moscow this week.
"In general, the Arctic is a third world oil and gas province, comparable to the Persian Gulf and Western Siberia," said the scientist.
The size of the natural resources of this region requires international cooperation in their research and development, Lobkovsky remarked with certainty.
In addition, he noted the large deposits of diamonds, nickel, chromium, manganese, tungsten and rare metals and gold. These resources will take large investments and modern technologies to extract, and for that reason there naturally appears what he described as a "territory for dialogue."
As another "natural area of cooperation" the scientist described research and exploration in the shelf zone of the Arctic.
At this point, he said, the best-studied areas are the Barents Sea and Kara Sea. A far worse situation is in the eastern part of the Russian shelf, where "literally blank spots" still remain.
The current pace of offshore operations as it is, it will require 120 years to obtain a sufficient amount of research data", says the geologist.
Therefore, he is convinced that "shelf exploration is in need of a dramatic increase in investment, for which purpose foreign companies should be attracted."
In addition, there exists such a major resource potential, still to be explored, as gas hydrate fields in the Eastern Arctic, said Lobkovsky.