South Africa: Using Cape Town As a Launchpad, Russia Boasts of Supergiant Oil Fields in Antarctic Wilderness

As Antarctic Treaty nations release the new Paris Declaration, a brand-new climate manifesto, Daily Maverick can reveal this international investigation: Russia has combed the fragile Southern Ocean for oil and gas on a staggering scale after Antarctica’s mining ban formally entered into force more than two decades ago.

A mammoth potential of 500 billion barrels in hydrocarbon "resources" — the building blocks for oil and gas — might be buried in supergiant oilfields beneath the Southern Ocean, the climate-threatened waters that wrap around Antarctica, according to Russian state entities.

Key points

There are 500 billion barrels of Southern Ocean oil and gas, says Russian geological exploration holding company Rosgeo.

These confounding claims were made from South Africa’s Table Bay harbour, used by Russia over decades to reach Antarctica.

This week, treaty nations are considering marine protected areas in waters in which Russia does not appear to have stopped surveying for oil and gas since the mining ban entered into force in 1998.

Despite restrictions, and outlawing activities such as prospecting and extraction, this ban may be changed from 2048.

Geology crews aboard the polar vessel Akademik Alexander Karpinsky announced these reserves in a communiqué issued by Rosgeo, the Russian Federation’s…


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