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Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry reported that Russia and Norway will start issuing licenses to oil and gas fields in the so-called former Barents Sea “gray zone” in 2013-2014.
The area off Norway’s North Cape and Russia is believed to contain vast amounts of recoverable hydrocarbons, Interfax reported.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed a law in April to ratify the September 2010 treaty signed by Russia and Norway on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The agreement concluded a delimitation dispute that had lingered for over four decades over the disputed waters, with a total area of around 175,000 square kilometers, with Article 1 of the treaty establishing an offshore boundary delineating the disputed area into two roughly equal sections. The new agreement enters into effect on 7 July. In the interim regional bilateral geophysical surveying and environmental impact studies will be conducted.
Besides potential hydrocarbon reserves, the seas contain some of the northern hemisphere’s richest fishing grounds and the treaty establishes conditions for fishing cooperation preserving a system joint regulation of fishing in the Barents Sea. Moscow is interested in tapping into Norway’s offshore drilling skills, which have allowed its North Sea’s offshore waters to become the basis for the country’s economic prosperity over the last four decades.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com