The new Norwegian-Russian gas partnership

The delimitation of the Barents Sea will open up for an unprecedented Norwegian-Russian cooperation on gas field development.


Commenting on the deal announced yesterday, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Riis-Johansen says the ground is now prepared for more activities and cooperation with Russia in the field of petroleum.

As BarentsObserver reported, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday announced a deal on the delineation of the 175,000 square kilometer big area in the Barents Sea. The area is believed to contain huge amounts of natural gas, possibly far more than the nearby Shtokman field.

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As a matter of fact, the sharing of the gas resources in the area might have been one of the most complicated points in the negotiations. The field Fedinsky High, which is expected to be of gigantic proportions, is located in the very centre of the area. An agreement on the sharing of these resources therefore needed to be found before the borderline was settled. With the deal announced yesterday, Norway and Russia have prepared the ground for enhanced cooperation and partnership on the regional hydrocarbons.

Both parts will significantly benefit from the deal. Investors will increasingly catch interest in the region, and the huge costs of developing the Shtokman field will be easier to justify considering the possibility to harmonize infrastructure solutions with other deposits, such as the Fedinsky High. In the press conference yesterday, President Medvedev also underlined that he expects that Russian-Norwegian joint projects and joint ventures will be established in the region.

The Norwegian-Russian deal on the Barents Sea consequently also removes most of the doubts recently cast over the Shtokman field development.

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No wonder, the Norwegian Oil Minister is ecstatic about the deal. “The agreement means that the strategic [Norwegian-Russian] partnership in the petroleum sector can be materialized in a quite new and extensive manner”, the minister says in a press release. He adds that the Norwegian side now will start planning how to proceed with “raising the knowledge level” about the petroleum potentials in the region.