Russia discovered the world’s largest oil reserves in Antarctica

Russia discovered the world’s largest oil reserves in Antarctica
Russia discovered the world’s largest oil reserves in Antarctica

This is information that has gone relatively unnoticed. And yet, it puts an end, if necessary, to all the recurring speculations and other apocalyptic announcements announcing oil shortages. If one day the world reaches the famous “peak oil”, it will be due to a decline in demand, not supply. As proof, Russia has just discovered gigantic oil deposits under the British territory of Antarctica.

According to documents presented to the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee last month, the discovery was made by Russian research vessels in the Weddell Sea, part of Antarctica claimed by the UK. United. The discovered reserves are estimated at around 511 billion barrels of oil, or 10 times the production of black gold from the North Sea over the last 50 years…

Real potential still unknown

To give an idea, the largest proven oil reserves in the world are found respectively, according to 2022 figures, in the Middle East (871 billion barrels), in Latin America (331 billion barrels), in Africa (119 billion barrels), Russia (80 billion barrels), North America (65 billion barrels), Central Asia (39 billion barrels) and China (27 billion barrels). The Russian discovery would suddenly propel Antarctica to second place in the world. And it is also almost double the known reserves of Saudi Arabia, the country with the second largest proven oil potential in the world behind Venezuela, whose reserves of around 300 billion barrels of heavy oil are well more difficult to process and exploit.

And the total oil potential of Antarctica is still unknown with very incomplete and sketchy explorations. There is a good reason for this. The exploitation of hydrocarbons in Antarctica is strictly prohibited. Since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, the continent has been reserved solely for non-economic and peaceful activities and cannot be ” the theater nor the subject of international disputes “. So much for the legal principles… And this is why the Russian discovery raises concerns.

Strategic competition »

Because since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the deterioration of relations between Moscow and the Western world ” creates strategic competition » between countries, which will be “ growing stronger in Antarctica »Klaus Dodds, professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway College, told the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee. These tensions already exist very clearly. Russia and China have blocked attempts by other Antarctic Treaty countries to expand marine protected areas.

Seven countries, including France, Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom, have territorial claims to Antarctica. They are not recognized by most other countries in the world. Chile and Argentina have permanent manned bases in Antarctica to support their territorial claims.

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