Agreement in the Barents Sea

“This is a historic day. We have reached a breakthrough in the most important outstanding issue between Norway and the Russian Federation,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg prior to the signing of an agreement between the Norwegian and the Russian negotiating delegations on the bilateral maritime delimitation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
This article appeared in Vol. 7, No. 3 - 2010


Following 40 years of negotiations, a solution of the contested area in the Barents Sea has now been found in which the area is split in two parts of approximately the same size. Several traps have already been mapped based on old data, several of which are huge and may prove to be giant and supergiant fields. The agreement was announced April 27 in a joint statement by the Foreign Ministers of Norway and the Russian Federation.  

At stake was a prospective area totaling 175,000 sq km, equivalent to 30 North Sea quadrants, or the combined size of the Southern Gas Basin, the Central Graben and the Viking Graben in the North Sea.
The issue of the maritime delimitation between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean has been the object of extensive negotiations over the last 40 years. The negotiations have now been completed, although technical control work remains before the final treaty is ready for signature. After that it will be considered by the two countries’ national assemblies.  

When it is all finally settled the seismic industry will be queuing up to acquire data, or more likely, will enter into fierce competition to acquire the highest quality 2D as well as 3D geophysical data of all kinds, in an area in which huge resources are expected. Such a large area should therefore provide ample food for hungry entrepreneurs.  

The recommended solution involves a maritime delimitation line that divides the overall disputed area in two parts of approximately the same size. In addition to a maritime delimitation line, the two delegations recommend the adoption of treaty provisions regarding cooperation on fisheries and petroleum activities.  

In the field of hydrocarbon cooperation, the two delegations recommend the adoption of detailed rules and procedures ensuring efficient and responsible management of their hydrocarbon resources in cases where any single oil or gas deposit should extend across the delimitation line.  

A new Hot Spot has arrived.


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