Norway, Russia sign agreement on cross-border seismic mapping of Barents Sea

A vessel equipped for seismic mapping on its way to the Barents Sea. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
More than two years overdue, Norway and Russia sign the agreement that will allow them to map oil and gas resources in joint borderlands.

The agreement was signed on Thursday as Russian Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin arrived in Oslo for meetings with Norwegian counterparts. It will allow seismic vessels from both countries to cross the borderline and sail up to 5km into neighboring waters.

“This means that both countries will be able to improve their mapping of the resource potential along the delimitation line”, says Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg.

Both Norway and Russia are now in the process of mapping the resources on their respective sides of the border and the new agreement make sure that both countries can get the seismic data they need, the Norwegian Ministry informs.

Two years past schedule

The signing of the agreement comes more than two years past schedule. Norwegian authorities had Already announced in 2016 that the deal was ready to be inked. Government sources later made clear that “certain formalities still remain to be settled by the Russian side.”

The deal is seen as a natural extension of the border delimitation deal with Russia signed in 2010 and ratified in July 2011. It came after decades of talks and split a 175,000 square kilometer area into two equally big parts.

The delimitation deal was followed by a quick expansion of hydrocarbon exploration in the area. On the Norwegian side, new exploration acreage has been made available to oil companies, including directly along the border.

A big number of Norwegian licenses have been issued in the area, among them license PL858 which is located directly along the border and will be operated by Norwegian company Det Norske (40%) along with Lukoil (20%), Statoil (20%) and SDØE (20%).

On the Russian side of the border, state company has secured control over vast acreage, including the Fedynsky, Tsentralno-Barentsevsky and Perseevsky license areas.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada to file submission for its continental shelf limits in Arctic Ocean in 2019, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finnish and Russian PMs talk environment, cooperation and money laundering probe in Helsinki, Yle News

Greenland: Binding agreement on Arctic fisheries moratorium officially signed by EU and nine countries, Radio Canada International

Norway: Norway and Russia agree to slash cod quotas in Barents Sea, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Barents region leaders dream of visa-free travel, but Schengen Agreement gives little hope, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Opponents skeptical as U.S. Gov claims seismic survey will have “insignificant” impact in ANWR, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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