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.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.