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.
Russia is prepared to protect its interests in the Arctic with military means if necessary, says Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu, pointing to the increasing interest in the region’s resources by countries with no direct access to the Arctic.
Development of tourism is one of Russia’s prioritized areas to secure its presence on the archipelago of Svalbard. The state company Trust Arktikugol is now registered as a tour operator and could welcome its first guests to the Arctic wilderness.
The UK needs to up its game in the Arctic or risk being «outmaneuvered” by other states, and should start by appointing an ambassador to the region, according to a report by the House of Lords Arctic Committee.