Unitization of petroleum fields in the Barents Sea: Towards a common understanding?

Arctic Review on Law and Politics, Vol 9, March 2018, pp. 72-96

The boundary agreement Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea prescribes that if trans-boundary petroleum fields are discovered, they should be developed as one unit, governed by a unitization agreement between the governments of the two countries. The principal research question in this article is whether the two countries will have the same approaches and policies regarding implementation of the unitization provisions of the Treaty.  In this article, we are concerned with practice and policies: examining how Norway and Russia have approached and solved similar challenges elsewhere. Even though stakeholders realize that the situation ahead is fundamentally new, they remain influenced (consciously or subconsciously) by what they perceive as their most relevant past experience. The upshot is that rather than risk failure, the parties should investigate differences, in order to find ways to manage them before they become problematic.