Petroleum Activity in the Russian Barents Sea: Constraints and Options for Norwegian Offshore and Shipping Companies

FNI Report 7/2008. Lysaker, FNI, 2008, 26 p.

Presently most attention in the Barents Sea is given to the Shtokman project. Experience from development of this field, where there are still many uncertainties, will have large consequences for the further development program and relations with foreign companies. The exploration activity going on is fairly limited, but over the last few years there has been a struggle over licenses and control over exploration capacity. In the medium term the goal of rapid development of the Arctic continental shelf has become intertwined with a comprehensive government effort to modernise the domestic shipbuilding industry to make it able to cover most of the needs offshore. With the shipbuilding industry in a deep crisis these goals are not fully reconcilable. Russia will either have to accept more foreign involvement, or scale down its offshore ambitions. We believe a combination of the two alternatives is likely. This means that there will still be room for foreign offshore and shipping companies, but that the total amount of activity on the continental shelf will not be as great as stated in official plans.