Beaufort Sea Dispute


The Beaufort Sea contains a21,000 km^2 triangular area (see map), which is claimed by both Canada and the United States.  Possibly containing 1,700,000,000 m^3 of natural gas, and over 1,000,000,000 m^3 of oil, the dispute has gone unresolved.

Canadian Position:  An 1825 treaty between the Russian and British Empires (The Treaty of Saint Petersburg) held that the Beaufort Sea maritime boundary was to be an extension of the straight land border between the Yukon and Alaska (following the 141st meridian).  Since this position was transferred to the U.S. and Canada when Alaska and Yukon were acquired, Canada concedes that the disputed region belongs to it.

American Position:  Following a principle of equidistance, the maritime boundary line that would be perpendicular to the coast, outward by 200 nmi, would differ from the line that would have been present given the simple 141st meridian extension.

Both countries currently implement environmental preservation programs within this disputed region.