MOSCOW, March 6 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied that the 2010 maritime delimitation deal with Norway was Moscow’s “gift” to Oslo, as a number of Russian media outlets recently put it.
The Russian-Norwegian treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean came into force in July 2011. The document was signed in September 2010, after nearly 40-year-long talks to define the exclusive economic zones and delimitate the continental shelf.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reported in late February that its mapping of the southeastern Barents Sea and the area surrounding Jan Mayen Island will result in an approximate 15 percent increase in the estimates of undiscovered resources on the Norwegian shelf.
In late February, Reuters quoted Norway’s authorities as saying that some 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) could be exploited in an offshore area the size of Switzerland in the Barents Sea, most of which is gas. At least some of the newly discovered reserves are believed to be located in the section that went to Norway when Moscow and Oslo signed the delimitation deal.
“Information on the presence in the Barents Sea of large reserves of hydrocarbons [oil and gas] is not new to us: this was known even before the Russian Federation and the Kingdom of Norway signed the treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean in 2010,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“The region is promising with regard to hydrocarbon production as a whole,” the ministry said. “There is data that sections that went to Russia are no less promising than Norwegian ones.”
According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, the area that went to Russia as a result of the deal contains at least six structures with the total projected reserves of 4.7 billion tons of oil equivalent (roughly 33 billion boe).
“As a result of the 2010 treaty, the Russian side obtained access to extensive resources with relatively favorable production conditions: they are closer to the shore at relatively small depths and in an area where the ice situation is not too complicated,” the ministry said.
“In this context, saying that Russia gave a ‘gift’ to Norway is wrong. The 2010 treaty, as a result of which Russia and Norway delimitated maritime areas in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean fairly and in line with international law, is advantageous to both states,” it said.
A number of Russian media, including the Noviye Izvestiya newspaper and the Business FM website, on Monday said that the 2010 deal between Russia and Norway was Moscow’s “gift” to Oslo. The media estimated that the 1.9 billion boe reserves Norway said could be exploited in the Barents Sea were worth €30 billion ($39 billion).