The 9500 square km area, which has been digitally mapped by Mareano, Norway’s major seabed mapping programme, bears clear signs of craters caused by gas and liquids (pockmarks) and landscapes formed by icebergs.
The area was measured and mapped with multi-ray sonars in 2011 and 2012 and is now displayed in landscape models with a resolution of 5, 25 and 50 meters respectively, a press release from Mareano reads.
Since the area is located beyond the territorial sea border, the data models are not subjected to national regulations on classified information. The pictures have been made publicly available, also the versions with high resolution, Mareano informs.
Mapping of the Norwegian-Russian underwater borderlands continues and geological, biological and chemical studies will be made in the course of 2013.
For more than fourty years, Norway and Soviet Union, subsequently Russia, negotiated the division of the 175,000 square km area. Only in 2010, during Dmitry Medvedev’s state visit to Norway, a compromise was reached. As reported by BarentsObserver, the two countries divided the area in two equally big parts.
Immediately after the delineation deal came info force on 1 July 2011, Norwegian seismic vessels moved into the waters to start studies of the area which is believed to be among the most perspective hydrocarbon sites in the Arctic. Later, mapping started also on the Russian side of the border.
While Norway is offering licenses to fields in the area as part of its 22nd and 23rd license rounds, Russia has granted licenses to the perspective waters to Rosneft. The state-owned company soon inked field cooperation deals in the area with Eni and Statoil respectively.