Norway became the first Arctic state to agree limits to its northern seabed, stopping short of the North Pole in a regional territorial scramble driven partly by hopes of finding oil and gas.Norway’s newly defined continental shelf covers 235,000 sq kms (90,740 sq miles), or three-quarters the size of mainland Norway, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said.
Russia planted a flag on the seabed 4,261 meters (13,980 ft) beneath the Pole in 2007 in a symbolic claim. Denmark has also said that the Pole is Danish, because of a subsea ridge running north from Greenland toward Russia.
Under the Law of the Sea, coastal states own the seabed beyond existing 200 nautical mile zones if it is part of a continental shelf of shallower waters.
Some shelves stretch hundreds of kms before reaching the deep ocean floor, which is owned by no state. Stoere said that Norway was not gaining territory, merely defining what was its under international law.