Why Do They Need the Arctic? The First Partition of the Sea

  • Wojciech Janicki
Keywords: Arctic, Convention on the Law of the Sea, conflict, resources, crude oil, peak oil


The political situation of the Arctic still remains unstable. In the past decade, a combination of the specific regulations of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the phenomenon of Arctic ice-cover shrinkage have produced a significant increase in the political activity of some of the countries interested in the region. It is commonly thought that the roots of the Arctic conflict lie in the abundant mineral resources, particularly petroleum and natural gas, that lie under the Arctic seabed. By analyzing geological data on the location of oil deposits and by taking into account the technological and macroeconomic conditions that must be fulfilled in order to exploit them, it is possible to conclude that the exploitation of these deposits will most likely not be attempted in the areas under dispute in the coming decades. This conclusion suggests that the motives behind the Arctic conflict are political, and not economic.