Russian and Norwegian Petroleum Strategies in the Barents Sea

Arctic Review on Law and Politics, Vol 1, No 2, 2010, pp. 225-248

 Norway and Russia are both moving petroleum activities into the Barents Sea. The Norwegian activities have been characterized by an  industry  eager to participate, but ready to withdraw in adverse commercial conditions, and authorities supporting enterprise, whilst imposing strong restrictions. Russia still does not have a coherent policy for offshore development. The prioritization of state goals is unresolved, and the division of functions between state organs and state companies unclear. Private and foreign interests are kept at arm’s length. There is still great uncertainty regarding the timing and pace of development, as well as the development concepts involved. The relationship between Russia and Norway in the energy sphere has been peaceful and cooperative, despite the jurisdictional dispute in the Barents Sea. The preliminary delimitation agreement improves the atmosphere further, and means that a promising area could be opened for petroleum activities and possibly joint exploration of deposits crossing the new boundary line.