Russia Sanctions Could Slow Norwegian Arctic Exploration

Posted by Michelle Howard
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Western sanctions against Russia may slow down exploration for oil and gas on both the Norwegian and Russian side of the Arctic Barents Sea, lobby group Norwegian Oil & Gas told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We have many members working on both sides of the border, where coordination of fields will be a key topic. Collection of seismic and other joint activities may be affected," said the group's head of legal affairs, Oluf Bjoerndal.

The association represents oil firms, including most supermajors, as well as some of the world's biggest oil and gas service firms.

"We fear that this could become a problem. There's a worry about that. It may mean that some areas aren't explored well enough, that potential discoveries are delayed," he added.

Russia and Norway settled a 40 year border dispute in the Barents in 2010, setting the stage for oil and gas activity in a vast but previously unexplored region of the Arctic.

"Norwegian and Russian companies must coordinate activities. Exchange information and experiences. I fear this may now come to an end," Bjoerndal said.

Russian oil firm Rosneft and Norway's Statoil have an ongoing cooperation over a range of projects.

(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Balazs Koranyi)

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