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Norway will "own" halfway to the North Pole

Many want more: Now Norway will be even bigger. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry refuses to share the Svalbard shelf with other countries. Russia is among those protesting.


The core point of the Svalbard Treaty is the balance between Norwegian sovereignty and the signatories' equal rights to the archipelago's resources. But the word continental shelf was a premonition when the treaty was drafted in 1920. The question first became relevant when US President Harry Truman demanded control of his own shelf in 1945. Next summer, Norway will submit its demands for the size of its own continental shelf to the UN.

Recent research shows that the continental shelf extends further into the sea than previously thought. This means that Norway can demand larger sea areas than we currently control, and already today we control an area six times the size of our own mainland.

Geology fellow Øyvind Engen at the University of Oslo has just finished his doctoral dissertation on the Norwegian continental shelf in the Arctic. His research shows that the shelf extends between 200 and 350 nautical miles north. . .

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