Norway Eyes Barents Sea Oil With Great Interest, Geoseismic Survey Planned

aker barents drilling rig statoil
Photo: Harald Pettersen / Statoil

(Dow Jones) The Norwegian government Wednesday announced it will start a geological survey of what oil and gas assets the Northern part of a previously disputed area in the Barents Sea could contain, adding to a previous survey of the Southern part of the area.

Norway last summer started collecting seismic data for the Southern part of the area after the country inked a deal with Russia over a maritime border in the Barents Sea region of the Arctic after 40 years of negotiations.

“The area near the border between Norway and Russia could contain significant oil and gas resources,” Norway prime minister Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.

“This gives new opportunities for jobs and growth in the North.”

The Norwegian government has initiated an opening process in the Barents Sea with the aim to award exploration licenses in the Southern part, but now also wants to collect data about the Northern part of the area in order to be able to safeguard Norwegian interests in case of cross-border deposits.

In Russia, state oil company Rosneft (ROSN.RS) has received three exploration licenses which cover part of the Russian side of the border.

Norway said its seismic investigation will start this summer and will be up at full speed in 2013. In the Southern part of the Barents Sea, the country started a geological survey in the summer of 2011 which continues this year.

-By Katarina Gustafsson, Dow Jones Newswires