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Russia to review oil, gas work in Barents Sea

Barents Sea maritime borders a focal point of disputes stretching back to the Soviet era.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Russian minister schedules meeting in Oslo to review options for joint opportunities in formerly disputed areas of the Barents Sea. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/ed2cb9faf64db65fd4f5a2834163db0b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Russian minister schedules meeting in Oslo to review options for joint opportunities in formerly disputed areas of the Barents Sea. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

MOSCOW, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Six years after resolving border disputes in the Barents Sea, a Russian minister said he scheduled a meeting in Oslo to discuss oil and gas work with Norway.

A September 2010 treaty put an end to nearly four decades of border disputes in the Barents Sea between Russia and Norway. The area of dispute included about 12 percent of the total maritime acreage in the Barents Sea, a region rich in oil and gas reserves.

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Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoy told Russian media agency Tass he was headed to Norway later this week to discuss potential cooperation in cross-border oil and gas fields.

"Work of Russia and Norway in the Barents Sea in the so-called former disputed area is of a mutual strategic interest," he said.

RELATED More reserves uncovered in Barents Sea

Donskoy said both sides would review opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation and potential seismic research work alongside the shared borders to get a better understanding of the reserve potential there.

Donskoy's visit would come less than a week after Swedish energy company Lundin Petroleum said Tuesday it made an oil and gas discovery in a frontier area near an existing field in the Barents Sea. Located about 37 miles from the Alta prospect, the Norwegian government confirmed the discovery could hold between 18 million and 44 million barrels of recoverable oil and between 35 and 70 billion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

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Norway is among the leading oil and natural gas exporters to a European economy looking to lessen its dependence on Russian natural gas reserves.

RELATED Norway sees sustained interest in offshore reserves

The government of Norway has remained upbeat on the prospects for oil and gas activity despite the downturn for the market. Oslo estimates there are roughly 18 billion barrels of oil equivalent yet to be discovered in Norwegian waters. Half of that is in the Barents Sea, with the rest distributed in the North and Norwegian seas.

RELATED OMV sets drilling record in Barents Sea

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