23 Sep 2010

Summit on Arctic Ocean

6:10 am on 23 September 2010

The Russian government is hosting an international conference on the northern polar regions - which is seen as a future battleground over mineral wealth.

A quarter of the world's resources of oil and gas are believed to lie beneath the Arctic Ocean.

Russia, Norway, Canada, Denmark and the United States have already laid claim to territory in the region.

The BBC reports the scramble has been set in motion partly by the melting of the polar ice - making the region's resources more accessible.

The race centres on an underwater mountain range known as the Lomonosov Ridge.

For the states involved, the key lies in obtaining scientific proof that the Lomonosov Ridge is an underwater extension of their continental shelf.

In 2001, Moscow submitted a territorial claim to the United Nations which was rejected because of lack of evidence.

Three years ago, a Russian expedition planted a titanium flag on the ocean floor beneath the North Pole in a symbolic gesture of Moscow's ambitions.