Russia, Norway joyous to close deal on oil-rich Barents Sea region

15:11, April 29, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

After almost 40 years of negotiation, Russia and Norway reached a deal on maritime delimitation in the Barents Seas and the Arctic Ocean. "Today agreement has been reached between the Norwegian and Russian negotiating delegations on the bilateral maritime delimitation in the Barents and the Arctic Ocean," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said to reporters at a Wednesday joint press conference with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Oslo.

On the agreement inked by Russia and Norway on the delimitation of the Barents Seas, the two sides have agreed on dividing the disputed waters of 175,000 sq km into roughly two equal parts, with a part to the west being granted to Norway and the part to the east assigned to Russia. Earlier, Medvedev told a Norwegian newspaper that it was "absolutely" possible to reach a deal on the Barents border off Europe's northern tip, although both sides played down the prospects for an accord..."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the two sides were close to agreeing a regional cooperation deal for their 180 km (112 miles) land border region, including visa-free travel for local residents and less red tape for business. Norwegian scholars, however, acknowledged that they should not place much hope on reaching agreement since it is an issue of complexity and the elements of uncertainty that follow.

Upon the landing of Russian President Medvedev in Oslo on Monday, Prime Minister Stoltenberg said at a press conference Tuesday that it remained unknown whether an agreement could be reached and, therefore, it was beyond the expectations of many Norwegians, however. And President Medvedev underscored that Russia and Norway were close to each other with their positions on delimitation in the Barents Seas prior to the bilateral talks.

Both Russia and Norway have given a high appraisal to the accord they signed. Solving the Barents Sea border issue is "a big success", said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a joint media briefing with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg after their meeting in Oslo.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg on Wednesday, April 28, cited the day as a special, "historic day", while a former Norwegian prime minister deemed this great day can be recorded into the annals of history. But some people in Norway, nevertheless, suggest it is still an issue worth watching; whether the Russian Duma will approve or disapprove it, and the concluded agreement has to be submitted to their supreme legislative bodies for deliberation.

The Barents Seas, northeast of the Scandinavia Peninsula, cover some 175,000 square km (or 68,000 square miles), representing approximately one-seventh of the total area of the Barents Seas. The main tension that occurred in the region is a patch of oil-rich region. The initial skirmishes turned into artillery crossfire on no-man border and skirmishes have started over disputed territories zone.

At that time, the Norwegian government proposes "demarcating" the maritime border in accordance with the principle of the "centre line", but it met with a firm, strong opposition and has soon been turned down by the Russian government and a controversy which occurred between the two sides.

The Russian side has discovered reserves with 3.8 estimated trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves and 3.67 million tons of gas condensate. In addition, due to an unresolved maritime boundary issue of the two nations, Norway has repeatedly detained Russian fishing vessels operating in disputed waters, and it also poses a barrier to the good-neighborly relations between the two countries.

Analysts deem that Russia and Norway had reached basic agreements on delimitation of the Barents Seas in an endeavor to meet the conditions the Norwegian side has set forth earlier, and the solution, however, can bring a lot of benefits to the Russian side with a solution of the border demarcation.

First of all, the delimitations of the Barents Seas will clearly remove the joint development of oil, gas reserves in the disputed areas. Russia will take up the Polar region next so as to settle development issues and will continue to coordinate its position with Norway and other countries.

Second, Russia, if compared with Norway, suffers a grave shortage of technologies for exploring and providing it with essential technological and financial assistance or help. Third, when the development is resolved, Russia's fishing interest will be given a better protection, and the future of Russian fishermen will be more secured in years ahead, Medvedev acknowledged.

By People's Daily Online and contributed by PD overseas resident reporter Tan Wujun


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • On Sept. 26, a resident passes by a flower terrace decorated for the coming National Day. (Xinhua/Hang Xingwei)
  • The photo, taken on Sept. 26, shows the SWAT team ready for the joint exercise. (Xinhua/Wangkai)
  • Two metro trains in Shanghai collided Tuesday afternoon, and an identified number of passengers were injured in the accident, the Shanghai-based reported. Equipment failures were believed to have caused the crash on the Line 10 subway, Xinhua quoted local subway operator as saying.
  • An employee at a gold store in Yiwu, located in east China's Zhejiang province, shows gold jewelry on Monday.(Xinhua/Zhang Jiancheng)
  • Tourists ride camels near China's largest desert lake Hongjiannao in Yulin, north China's Shaanx Province, Sept. 24, 2011. Hongjiannao is shrinking as a result of climate change and human activities, and may vanish in a few decades. Its lake area, which measured more than 6,700 hectares in 1996, has shrunk to 4,180 hectares. Its water level is declining by 20-30 centimeters annually and its water PH value has risen to 9.0-9.42 from 7.4-7.8. (Xinhua/Liu Yu)
  • Actors perform royal dance at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Sept. 27, 2011. A ceremony commemorating the 38th South Korea Sightseeing Day was held in Gyeongbok Palace on Tuesday. (Xinhua/He Lulu)
Hot Forum Discussion