(Corrects to remove reference to BP in paragraph 10)
* Russia says will spend millions of dollars to prove claims
* Wants resource-rich undersea ridge
* Russian navy chief says NATO threatens Arctic interests
By Thomas Grove
MOSCOW, July 6 Russia said on Wednesday it would
formally submit an application to the United Nations next year
to redraw the map of the Arctic, giving itself a bigger share.
The plan follows a pledge last week to send troops and
weapons north to guarantee its Arctic interests. The formal
application to the United Nations would change the region's
borders and allow exploitation of energy-rich Arctic territory.
Russia, Norway, the United States, Canada and Denmark are at
odds over how to divide up the Arctic seabed, thought to hold 90
billion barrels of oil and 30 percent of the world's untapped
gas resources, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"I hope that next year we will present a formal,
scientifically grounded application to the commission of the
U.N.," state-run RIA news agency cited Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Ivanov as telling a government maritime board.
Top energy producer Russia has said it will spend millions
of dollars on studies to prove that an underwater mountain
range-- rich in oil, natural gas and mineral deposits -- is part
of its own Eurasian landmass.
Canada and Denmark reject the claim, saying the geographical
formation, known as the Lomonosov Ridge, which stretches across
the Arctic Sea, is a geographical extension of their own land.
Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky also warned on
Wednesday that increased focus from NATO on the region was
threatening Moscow's Arctic interests.
"Recently, we have been receiving confirmations that NATO
has marked the Arctic as a zone of its interests," RIA quoted
the navy chief as saying at the same board meeting.
Russia says it will counter potential threats to its energy
and mineral interests in the region through the creation of two
brigades of Arctic troops. Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov
said last week that details were still being worked out.
Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom runs two major
gas projects in the Arctic, including one with Statoil ,
while state-run oil major Rosneft is seeking partners
to operate three Kara Sea fields.
Global warming has boosted expectations that the Arctic may
also provide new mining, fishing and shipping prospects as the
ice cap melts.
Moscow submitted an application to the U.N. to claim the
Lomonosov Ridge in 2001, but the document was returned and
Moscow was asked to provide more proof for its claim.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said late last month that
Russia would finish mapping of its Arctic shelf by 2013 and
submit its application to the U.N. on its claim to the Lomonosov
Ridge by 2014.
Canada has said it will submit its application on the
territory in 2013.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea says
that any coastal state can claim its own landmass 200 nautical
miles from its shoreline and exploit the natural resources
within that zone.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)