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Exploring Spitsbergen shelf

Norway wants to know more about the oil and gas potential of the Spitsbergen shelf.

A Norwegian seismic vessel has started mapping of the disputed shelf around the Svalbard archipelago.

Location

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has commissioned the mapping, which is conducted by the Dolphin Geophysical company.

The results of the mapping which will not be made public, Petro.no reports.

It is the vessel ”Artemis Atlantic” which is collecing the data from the area. The vessel will later this summer be replaced by  the ”7-Oceans” and ”Sursum Corda”. The operations reportedly started on 18th July and will continue until 15th September. 

Norway claims sovereignty over the shelf around the Svalbard archipelago. That position, however, is disputed by most other countries, among them neighboring Russia.

Svalbard is governed based on a treaty from 1920. The agreement grants Norway sovereignty over the archipelago, but certain conditions apply, among them the signatory states’ equal right to engage in economic activities on the area.

Norway argues that the treaty’s provisions of equal economic access apply only to the archipelago’s territorial waters, but not to the wider Exclusive Economic Zone and the continental shelf.