MOSCOW, June 22 (RIA Novosti)
- Norway extends ban on Arctic shelf oil production until 2013
- Russia to draft program for Arctic shelf exploration by 2012
- Russia launches Arctic expedition to support shelf claim
- U.S., Canada to send Arctic mission to support shelf claim
Russia and Norway may start granting licenses to develop offshore deposits in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean in 2013-2014 under a bilateral sea border agreement, Russia's Natural Resources Ministry said on Wednesday.
The Russian-Norwegian agreement on delimiting the sea border and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean will come into force on July 7, 2011. The agreement opens new opportunities for the oil and gas industry in the northern regions, the ministry said after a bilateral meeting on the prospects of geological works in the area.
The countries are going to set up consortiums to develop promising offshore deposits taking into account severe environmental conditions of the North, lack of infrastructure and technological problems. The statement also said the ministry was working out legal terms of shelf development regulation and trying to improve tax regime for raising investment in shelf projects.
In September 2010, Russia and Norway signed a deal to delimitate their maritime border after 40 years of negotiations. The two countries have been disputing the 175,000 square km area in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean since 1970. The absence of a defined maritime border often resulted in the seizure of fishing vessels in the region.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.