Russia Charges 30 with Piracy Over Greenpeace Arctic Protest



Russia's Investigative Committee, which answers to President Vladimir Putin, said all the accused had denied guilt and refused to give substantive testimony relating to the piracy charges. It said the investigation was continuing.

The Arctic holds 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates. However, its economic viability, as well as its environmental safety credentials, remain a matter of debate.

Prirazlomnaya is Russia's first offshore Arctic oil rig, giving it an important role in the energy-reliant nation's effort to extract resources in the region.

PUTIN'S PLANS

Global majors including ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil have agreed deals with Russia's state-owned Rosneft to enter Russia's Arctic offshore waters, projects seen as crucial to maintaining the 10 million barrels a day of oil flow from the world's No. 1 producing nation.

Russia's economy has slowed in recent years after growing robustly during Putin's initial stint as president in 2000-2008.

Putin, whose current term ends in 2018, told a meeting of his ruling United Russia party on Thursday that the Arctic was an "extremely important region" in terms of both national security and economic development.


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