Nearly 40 years of border conflict between Russia and Norway in the Barents Sea have officially ended. Oslo and Moscow can now rightly map the territory, which has been governed by a moratorium since 1980. The scavenger hunt began just hours after the treaty came into force on July 7, 2011. What will be the consequences of the delimitation agreement? The treaty marks the end of a long process that began in 1970. The breakthrough of the negotiations was well known during President Medvedev`s visit to Norway on 27 April, when the Norwegian and Russian foreign ministers signed a joint declaration announcing that the negotiating delegations of the two countries had reached a provisional agreement on delimitation. – Murmansk is very important in the cooperation between our two countries, said President Medvedev. The Norwegian Prime Minister said: – I am pleased that the agreement is signed here in Murmansk. Murmansk is a crossroads in cooperation between Norway and Russia. Whatever resources will be found in the future on the Norwegian and Russian sides, both countries can already claim victory. It is above all a political agreement that pays tribute to diplomacy and negotiation, but also an agreement that can have considerable economic benefits for countries.
According to some experts, total revenue from the implementation of the contract could reach $200 billion. This has the potential to significantly strengthen both land and offshore cooperation. The delimitation agreement is also widely welcomed on the east side of the border. “Uncertainty over territorial borders and maritime space has undoubtedly cast a shadow over major energy projects in the region,” Medvedev said. The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment quickly announced that the first exploration licences could be granted as early as 2013-14. On the other hand, experts are rather skeptical of such an acceleration. According to some, offshore oil production in the Arctic requires considerable resources and advanced technology, which is often lacking in state-controlled Russian giants Gazprom and Rosneft. Some voices also indicate that activities in the once-controversial area could degrade development of the nearby Shtokman gas field. The parties also agree to combat marine pollution as a result of fishing activities and the agreement provides technical rules for fisheries implementation, control measures and research cooperation. Norway and Russia have agreed on a new fishing agreement on the Barents Sea for 2019. The agreement focuses on the continued sustainable management of fish stocks in the region and includes a quota of 725,000 tonnes of cod to be distributed on the basis of previous agreements between Norway, Russia and third countries.