Santa’s Stash: What lies beneath the factory

Around this season, the North Pole is famous to most of us for the home of mythical elves, Santa Claus, Rudolf and a toy factory the size of which would resurrect the 5-year old out of many of us.  But did you know if Santa had maintained some property rights over the past centuries, he would be worth more than any other individual in the entire world?  Too bad the old man isn’t a shrewd capitalist; the whole world would be getting Oprah’s favorite things for Christmas.

Why would Santa be rolling in the dough?  According to the latest estimates, the North Pole is rich with oil wealth potential.  How much?  Close to 30% of the world’s current oil reserves, scientists suggest.  Currently, the UN Commission has been mitigating this state-centric battle for rights to the North Pole between the US, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Canada, based on land determinants of economic sovereignty.  For the last decade, countries have been gathering evidence and data in support of their rights to ownership of the North Pole.  The UN Convention on the law of the Sea, set out in 1982, established that countries can claim ownership of the ocean floor beyond national land borders if there is substantial scientific evidence that the seabed is an extension of their continental shelf.

santas stash

Canada was the last to jump in the game, as countries need to present their application within ten years of ratifying the convention.  The Canadians have already invested upwards of $200 million in the scientific process and plan to continue as the application is reviewed over the next ten years.  This pales in comparison to the millions more already invested by the US, Russia, Norway and Denmark.

Ironically, global warming has allowed for this oil discovery to become possible.  With the breaking apart of polar ice caps, it is now economically viable to retract oil from the North Pole via the Northwest Passage- and the economic cost of producing this oil is diminishing every year.  Ten years from now when the UN will be able to determine ownership, not only will the cost of oil likely be at an ultimate peak, but the cost of development will be at an ultimate low.


To read more on this competition to the top, read at the following links

-Bridget Healy


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