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Norway to start seismic surveys in the Barents Sea; “High North” strategy

Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced that the Norwegian Government intends to start additional seismic surveys further north in the area of the Barents Sea previously disputed with Russia. Seismic surveys will start this summer and will continue into 2013.

The survey will provide us with important knowledge about possible oil and gas resources in the area. The area near the maritime delimitation line between Norway and Russia may contain significant oil and gas resources. As a result of the maritime delimitation treaty, which entered into force last summer, Norway and Russia are now able to explore these opportunities. This creates new possibilities for employment and growth in the High North.

The historic treaty signed by Norway and Russia last year provides for continued excellent relations between neighbors and good resource management in the Barents Sea.

—Prime Minister Stoltenberg to the Oslo Energy Forum

The Norwegian-Russian Treaty on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean was signed on 15 September 2010 and entered into force on 7 July 2011. The treaty establishes the boundary between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.

In the new Norwegian areas in the southern part of the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Government has initiated an opening process for petroleum activities aimed at awarding new production licences. Geological surveys in the area by Norwegian authorities started in the summer of 2011 and will continue this year.

The Norwegian authorities need geological data from the relevant areas in order to safeguard Norwegian interests in accordance with the maritime delimitation treaty if transboundary oil deposits are found. The Russian state-owned company Rosneft has been granted production licences covering most of the Russian part of the previously disputed area.

The Norwegian Government is now stepping up our geological surveys in the Barents Sea to safeguard our interests in accordance with the Treaty on Maritime Delimitation.

—Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe

The Norwegian Government therefor has decided to conduct geological mapping to cover all of Norway’s new areas in the Barents Sea. This activity will however not alter the framework conditions set for petroleum activities in the 2011 management plan for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area.

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