© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MURMANSK, March 1. /TASS/. The program of the expedition of Russian scientists on Svalbard increased this year by almost half to study of the shelf prospective for oil and gas. As reported by TASS Deputy Director of the Murmansk marine biological Institute (MMBI) Dmitry Ishkulov, the research vessel of the Institute “dal’niye Zelentsy” with scientists from several scientific organizations on Board will be spent in the area of the archipelago of 24 days instead of the originally planned 14 days.

“The whole expedition will last 65 days and will cover a few of the Arctic seas, primarily in the Barents and Norwegian, about 24 hours will be dedicated to the area of Svalbard,” said Ishkulov.

This expedition, MMBI on his vessel “dal’niye Zelentsy” spends annually . This year the campaign was planned for a period of 55 days, however, the Institute received many applications from other scientific organizations, in particular, of the Kola scientific centre of RAS on the participation in the expedition their employees to explore Svalbard. In this regard, the leadership of MBI applied to the Federal Agency of scientific organizations (FANO) with a request to extend the expedition, and the idea was supported. Expedition, presumably, will pass in two stages: in may – early June and September – October.

As reported in FANO, a plan of research on the Svalbard archipelago for 2017 was approved in accordance with the instructions of the government of the Russian Federation on the necessity to increase the Russian presence on the archipelago, so the expedition period is increased to 10 days. According to scientists, the extension of the forwarding plan will provide a number of important scientific results, increasing the area and range of studies on Svalbard and in the coastal zone of the archipelago. “If we added five additional days (in may), we will increase program will provide the work of geophysicists, geographers, glaciologists, which will close some information gaps that exist in the region. In the autumn of the expedition we will work on the age-old Kola section and work in the so-called grey zone is a promising area of oil and gas production, thus, will expand the area of works of Russian scientists in the Spitsbergen area,” – said the first Deputy Director of the MMBI KSC RAS Pavel Makarevich.

In FANO noted that these research papers are also important from the environmental point of view. “Svalbard, due to its geographical position, peculiarities of the formation of terrestrial ecosystems, water resources and originality of their biotechnic components, represents a unique testing ground for exploring the full range of responses to the natural environment in the high Arctic to the external influence of natural and anthropogenic origin”, – said the Agency.

The Svalbard archipelago is a unique site for studying the entire spectrum of responses to the natural environment in the high Arctic on the external impact of natural and anthropogenic origin.