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Oslo, Moscow review arctic oil and gas

July 21, 2011 at 8:58 AM

MOSCOW, July 21 (UPI) -- A treaty between Russia and Norway paves the way toward bilateral energy work on the arctic continental shelf, a Kremlin spokesman said.

Oslo and Moscow enacted a treaty July 7 regarding cooperation in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean. The document was signed in September after nearly 40 years of discussions on the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones.

"Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg discussed by phone urgent issues of bilateral trade and economic cooperation with the focus on interaction in the power industry," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

The news agency said the July 7 treaty allows both sides to explore for oil and gas on the arctic continental shelf. It adds that arctic resources could contain as much as 13 percent of the world's unexplored oil reserves and 30 percent of unexplored natural gas.

Moscow is trying to convince the international community that it has a greater claim to the arctic. A 1982 convention gives bordering nations the right to extend arctic claims if the government can prove its continental shelf extends beyond a 200-mile limit.

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