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Daily Archives: 12. May 2015 − News & Stories

Rus­sia pro­tests against Nor­we­gi­an oil deve­lo­p­ment in the Barents Sea

Rus­sia is using every oppor­tu­ni­ty to chall­enge the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment in the Arc­tic. Alre­a­dy in ear­ly March, the Rus­si­an ambassa­dor has filed a sharp diplo­ma­tic note to the Nor­we­gi­an minis­try of for­eign affairs to pro­test against the ope­ning of blocks for oil and gas in the Barents Sea.

Accor­ding to the Rus­si­ans, the area in ques­ti­on should be gover­ned by the Spits­ber­gen Trea­ty, which would give other count­ries more rights to make use of poten­ti­al resour­ces. The fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment would, at least, not be a dome­stic Nor­we­gi­an issue any­mo­re.

The Rus­si­an reaso­ning, howe­ver, lea­ves a mixed impres­si­on at best: it is argued that Spits­ber­gen has a shelf area on its own, to which the rele­vant area belongs. Hence, the area should be trea­ted as part of Spits­ber­gen, accor­ding to the Rus­si­an govern­ment, and not as part of the Nor­we­gi­an eco­no­mic zone.

It is com­mon­ly accept­ed, as is illus­tra­ted in the image in this artic­le, that the­re is one con­ti­nuous shelf from main­land Nor­way up to Spits­ber­gen, and this shelf belongs to Nor­way. This is cer­tain­ly the per­spec­ti­ve of the Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment, which is cer­tain­ly shared by the Rus­si­an govern­ment when it comes to their own shelf are­as north of Rus­sia. The­re is no geo­lo­gi­cal or juri­di­cal reason to defi­ne a sepa­ra­te “Spits­ber­gen Shelf”.

The con­ti­nen­tal shelf in the Barents Sea (light blue) is com­mon­ly con­side­red one con­ti­nuous shelf. The arrow marks the posi­ti­on of Bear Island (Bjørnøya).

Kontinentalschelf Barentssee

Source: Alas­ka Dis­patch News: Rus­sia pro­tests oil deve­lo­p­ment in Sval­bard zone


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