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TROMSO, January 19. /TASS/. Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende called on Monday for expanding international partnership with Russia in the Arctic exploration programs.
“I acknowledge and stress that Russia is a key member of the Arctic Council and this should remain so. This is the official position of Norway,” the minister told the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, Norway.
Brende said he hopes the Ukrainian crisis will have no serious consequences for the cooperation with Russia in the Arctic. “Norway will do its utmost so that the cooperation of the Arctic powers will continue this way in the future,” he said.
The conference in Tromso, attended by delegations from 34 countries, is a major forum for discussing issues of the Arctic exploration. Prime ministers of Norway and Finland, the foreign minister of Denmark and the prince of Monaco are among the participants.
Russia has launched an active economic exploration of the Arctic. In December, Russia confirmed the discovery of the new Arctic oil and gas field Pobeda (Victory) located on the Kara Sea shelf.
Russia’s oil giant Rosneft said the field has recoverable reserves of 130 million tons of oil and 499 billion cubic meters of gas. Up to 2030, Russia plans to spend $400 billion on the hydrocarbons exploration in the Kara Sea, with the Arctic known reserves accounting for just 25%.
The cooperation between Russia and Norway in the Arctic is defined by the treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
Artur Chilingarov, a special Russian presidential representative on international cooperation in the Arctic, said Sunday in Oslo that Norway could lose hundreds of billions of dollars if it refuses to cooperate with Russia in the Arctic.