Russia's Rosneft discovers vast new oil deposit on Arctic shelf

Russian oil major Rosneft has announced the discovery of a new oil deposit while drilling at Khatanga Bay in the Laptev Sea in the eastern Arctic. The Ministry of Natural Resources says this could be the largest oil deposit on the country’s Arctic shelf.

“During the drilling of the Tsentralno-Olginskaya-1 well from the shore of the Khara-Tumus Peninsula on the shelf of the Khatanga Bay of the Laptev Sea, three core samples were taken from depths of 2305 to 2363 m, which showed high oil saturation dominated with light oily fractions,” the company said in a statement.

The potential of the newly-discovered deposit has yet to be verified, the company said.

“On the basis of primary studies, it can be concluded a new oil field has been discovered, the volume of the resource potential of which is increasing as the drilling continues. Core sampling continues at the moment,” a statement from Rosneft said.

Russian Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy congratulated the company on the discovery and said this could be the largest oil deposit in the Russian Arctic.

"Now we expect more discoveries from our colleagues. They promise to cheer up the sector soon," Donskoy posted on Facebook.

Sámi concerned about Arctic railway plans

By Thomas Nilsen

Tiina Sanila-Aikio says no Sámi people have been invited to discuss the new Rovaniemi-Kirkenes railway that will run straight through their traditional reindeer herding areas.

Industry and regional politicians praise the idea to build a 500 km railroad from northern Finland to Norway’s Barents Sea coast. Sami people, though, are concerned that such railroad would go through their land without regard for their rights.

«The railway will go through such areas that are very important to Sámi people, the people that are practicing their traditional livelihoods, especially fishing and reindeer herding. If we have a railway, it will separate areas from each other and practicing Sámi traditional livelihoods would be very difficult,» says Tiina Sanila-Aikio, President of the Finnish Sámi Parliament.

Sanila-Aikio is Skolt Sámi, the indigenous peoples living in the border areas between Finland, Norway and Russia.