Norway to start tests in new Barents zone in July

Wed Jun 8, 2011 3:51pm GMT

* Scans to start when Russia-Norway border treaty in force

* Norway says region may contain significant resources

* PGS vessel to scan Jan Mayen, Barents regions in June/July

OSLO, June 8 (Reuters) - Norway will in July start collecting seismic data in a newly delineated region of the Barents Sea, after a new Norwegian-Russian maritime border agreement comes into force, the government said on Wednesday.

The Oil and Energy Ministry said that the southeastern Barents Sea, which is now officially part of the Norwegian shelf after the border treaty finalised the disputed boundary, "may contain significant petroleum resources".

"We can now start collecting seismic data in the (region) as soon as the agreement enters into force (on July 7)," Oil and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe said in a statement.

Knowledge about the region is "very limited", he added.

Seismic studies are used to evaluate the potential for oil and gas resources, which could lead to production in the remote Arctic region. For drilling to begin, Norway would need to formally open the region for offshore exploration.   Continued...

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