An increasing interest is taken in developing the resources of the world oceans. During the last century, however, human activities were not always rational and sustainable. In this context, the energy and metal resources are characterised with a due consideration on the uneven distribution and dynamic increase of the Earth's human population, both resulting from interplay of natural and socioeconomic factors at a global scale. These two groups of resources are fundamental constituents for production of material and development of civilisations. Against the backdrop of the identified conflict areas between Man and Nature, a contention is put forth that sustained development in the 21st century depends on access to the resources of the world oceans. Oceanic resources are characterized against the background of the world's supply and demand of mineral resource. When analysing the varying rate at which the demand for resources has been increasing over the last fifty years, attention is being paid in numerous countries to the changes in spatial structure of resource exploitation, depletion of rich deposits, and a restricted access to resources as experienced. The most pronounced changes in the world-wide use of resources, including the fossil fuels and metal ores, have been taken place in the second half of the 20th century. The predicted increase in demand for raw materials as well as the limitations in access determine the changes in spatial structure of resource exploitation and trigger actions aimed at securing the access within the system of global integration. The existing, important restrictions in access to ocean resources are emphasized; those restrictions are related to expansion, on the part of numerous coastal states, of the outer border of the continental shelf up to 350 nautical miles off shore. The promise offered by the oceanic gas hydrate deposits is emphasized as well.

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