Historical archive

New opportunities for Northern Norway: will recommend opening of the South eastern Barents Sea

Today, the Government presented its proposal to open for petroleum activity in the south-eastern Barents Sea.

Today, the Government presented its proposal to open for petroleum activity in the south-eastern Barents Sea.

“This is a historic day. Opening the first new region for petroleum activity since 1994 will allow us to explore new, promising areas for oil and gas, provide new opportunities and new impetus in Northern Norway, and boost value creation and employment across the country,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe (Centre Party).

In the white paper on new opportunities for Northern Norway (Meld. St. 30 (2012–2013)), the Government recommended that the Storting open for petroleum activity in the south-eastern Barents Sea.

"The petroleum industry is becoming increasingly important for Northern Norway, and there is great optimism in the region. Opening up the south-eastern Barents Sea will provide further opportunities, particularly for Finnmark county. I have therefore chosen to call the white paper New Opportunities for Northern Norway. Petroleum activity offers an opportunity to create new, exciting and attractive jobs, and helps to sustain vigorous local communities. I am confident that the region will now exploit the opportunities on offer,” says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe (Centre Party).

The process of opening up the south-eastern Barents Sea for petroleum activity began in the spring of 2011. When Norway and Russia concluded 40 years of negotiations on the delimitation line in the Barents Sea in 2010, the Norwegian continental shelf grew considerably in size. The areas included in the present recommendation constitute the southernmost part of the new region.

As part of the opening process, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has surveyed the region’s oil and gas potential. The potential is high, and the region is expected to hold more than 300 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalents, corresponding to almost eight fields the size of Eni’s Goliat field, which is scheduled to begin production shortly. The new area increases the amount of undiscovered resources in the Barents Sea by more than 30 per cent. A comprehensive impact assessment has also been conducted, and been the subject of public consultation.