Space and Timing: 'Why was the Barents Sea Delimitation Dispute Resolved in 2010?

Polar Geography, Vol 34, No 3, 2011, pp. 145-162

An explanation of the timing of the 2010 agreement resolving the marine delimitation dispute between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea must be sought mainly on the Russian side. Russia's willingness to compromise on the spatial disagreement between the two countries at this specific juncture was not,as sometimes assumed, driven by a thirst for the energy resources in the formerly disputed area, but instead by broader Russian foreign policy considerations. These include a general effort to reduce the risk of conflicts with neighboring states by clearing away as many territorial disputes as possible, the intention to improve Russia's image as a rule-abiding player on the international arena, and interest in strengthening the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the framework for Arctic governance.