MOSCOW, March 30. /TASS/. Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry hopes to sign the agreement on the former "grey zone" in the Barents Sea in summer, Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy told reporters.
"To date everything is ready, the signing of the agreement is planned this summer at the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission," he said.
Russia has already signed the agreement with Norway on collection and exchange of seismic data across in the maritime border. Norway is still to sign it.
According to Donskoy, this agreement will broaden opportunities for joint projects of the two countries.
In 2010, Russia and Norway signed an agreement on dividing the offshore zones and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
The so-called "grey zone" of the Barents Sea with the area of 175,000 square kilometers was divided into equal parts by the two countries ending the 40-year long territorial dispute.
Under the terms of the agreement, oil and gas reserves of the former grey zone, which are located along the borderline should be developed jointly. Russia and Norway have been in talks for several years discussing approaches towards joint development of transboundary deposits.
Norway regards the Barents Sea zone as the most promising one for discovery of new large deposits. Next year, the country’s state oil and gas company Statoil will drill 5-7 exploratory wells in the Barents Sea and plans to pay increased attention to the former "grey zone".
The sites within this zone were first distributed among oil and gas companies this year. Among the companies that participated in the process were Russia’s Rosneft and Lukoil and DEA Norge AS, which is controlled by Russian businessman Mikhail Fridman.
DEA and Lukoil Overseas North Shelf AS received stakes in 2 and 1 licenses respectively. In particular Lukoil's subsidiary became a partner of Statoil and Det Norske in the area adjacent to the Russian-Norwegian border line. Statoil received stakes in 5 deposits in the Barents Sea.