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Russia expects spat over arctic oil and gas

July 1, 2013 at 6:55 AM

MOSCOW, July 1 (UPI) -- Rivals looking at the potential development of oil and natural gas in arctic regions may work to thwart Russia's ambitions, the deputy prime minister said.

Energy explorers are examining emerging developments in arctic regions as warming trends leave northern seas free of ice for longer periods of time during the year.

Russia and Norway in June signed a maritime border treaty, which the Russian government described as a win for both sides. Moscow estimates its part of the Barents Sea could hold as much as 33 billion barrels of oil.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the Russian government was expecting a geopolitical spat over arctic reserves.

"The settlement of these conflicts could very easily exceed the boundaries of diplomacy," he was quoted as saying last week by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti. "It's quite possible that Russia's oil and gas production facilities might see secret sabotage attempts by rival countries."

Russian energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft are among those seeking to exploit the estimated 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas expected from arctic regions.

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