Norway opens more of the Arctic for oil and gas exploration

The Norwegian parliament has opened an offshore Arctic zone in the eastern Barents Sea for oil and gas exploration.  The new exploration zone borders Russia and is expected to be included in the country's next licensing round, Reuters said in a report.

The area is believed to hold approximately 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent, 15 percent of which is oil. Russia and Norway were able to reach an agreement in 2010 regarding the area Norway has wanted to explore for several years.

With prospects in the North Sea running out, the oil sector in Norway has been moving further into the Arctic. Norway has already awarded 24 licenses this month, including 20 in the Barents Sea.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said there are potential complications in that some of the prospective oil and gas deposits overlap the maritime border between Russia and Norway. This creates the risk that an energy firm on one side of the border may drain a reservoir that lies under the other.

However, Reuters highlights that such issues have been encountered and resolved in the past. Britain and Norway have been cooperating in the North Sea, having established an agreement on the amount of resources that can be removed on either side of their maritime border.

PennEnergy's research area has more information on oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

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