Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Norway ratified the Arctic treaty signed with Russia

On Tuesday Norwegian parliament ratified the treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean signed with Russia in 2010, reports AFP referring to Norwegian media sources. 

The treaty lets both countries develop oil-and-gas fields of Arctic continental shelf in the territory of 175,000 sq km after the 30-year long moratorium. Norwegian MPs unanimously ratified the document; to come into force, it should be also ratified by Russian parliament. 

"As far as I know, Russian party examines the document now", said Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store addressing to MPs. As for him, ratification of the agreement by the countries will open new epoch of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. 
Russia and Norway signed the Treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean in Sept 2010. The parties were about to ratify the document simultaneously. With signing of this treaty, Moscow and Oslo had closed almost the 40-year long talks on delimitation of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf of the two countries. 

Disputed territory was somewhat 175,000 sq km of maritime space. The dispute had been settled gradually. In 2007 the countries managed to sign the agreement on Varangerfjord, a bay in the Barents Sea. The document provides maritime delimitation of exterior part of the bay and resolves some problematic issues. 

In Apr 2010 the parties had reached definitive agreement. The entire disputable area is subdivided roughly in halves; as a result, both countries would finally obtain clear borders of exclusive economic zones and continental shelf. 

According to U.S. Geological Survey, about 13% of world's unexplored oil resources and 30% of natural gas resources can be located in continental part of Arctic.
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