The new oil field discovered in September this year by OMV and it license partners could have the potential to trigger serious international disagreement. The Wisting Central field is located in the perspective Hoop structure, an area which is expected to stretch into the waters surrounding the Svalbard Archipelago.
Norwegian state-controlled Statoil has a 15 percent in the license and is soon to drill at the nearby Apollo field, a structure which is located even closer to Svalbard. If Statoil makes a major discovery at Apollo, the resources could stretch in the Svalbard waters, Teknish Ukeblad reports.
The management of the Svalbard archipelago is based on an international treaty of 1920, according to which Norway gets sovereignty over the islands, but with all signatory states entitled to engage in local commercial activities. Norway argues that the treaty’s provisions of equal economic access only apply to the islands and their territorial waters, but not to the far bigger exclusive economic zone. In addition, the country argues that the islands’ continental shelf is a part of mainland Norway’s continental shelf.
This position, however, is disputed by several signatory countries, among them Russia and the United Kingdom.
By drilling at the Hoop High, Norway could challenge the skeptical signatory states. The Apollo field is located close to the 74th latitude, the outer border of what many considers to be the Svalbard waters. In addition to the Apollo field, Norway in the 22nd License Round in June this year issued licenses to another two structures located even further north, at about 74,5 degrees north.
According to Johan Petter Barlindhaug, board chairman of the North Energy company, the UK might ultimately take action against the Norway in the area.
“In this issue, there are no friends, only national interests. The Svalbard zone remains an unsettled issue”, Barlindhaug says to TU.no.
A step-by-step increase up to SEK 5,5 billion will be added to the annual defense budget following the Ukraine crisis. The cash will partly come by cutting spending on environment and nuclear safety cooperation with Russia.
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.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.
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.
“Young journalists are the future of cross border communication in the North. We feel it is important to give them a possibility to network and learn about new media”, says Virpi Komulainen, project coordinator of the Barents Mediasphere.