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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norwegian Border Deal Reached

Russia and Norway signed a deal Wednesday demarcating the sea border between them in an Arctic region that could hold significant oil and gas deposits.

The Foreign Ministry said the agreement sets out in more detail the border, originally established in 1957, as well as the limits to Russia's and Norway's areas of jurisdiction in the swathe of sea around Varangerfjord.

Norway hopes the partial deal will be a step toward resolving a decades-old border dispute between the neighbors over an area in the Barents Sea half the size of Germany that geologists say could hold significant oil and gas resources.

Officials have said the Barents Sea could become an important new source of petroleum to supply Europe, but development has been hindered by the unresolved dispute.

So far the only petroleum development in the Barents is Norwegian group Statoil's Snoehvit gas field, which is set to come on stream toward the end of this year and supply liquefied natural gas mainly to the U.S. East Coast.

In the Russian sector of the Barents Sea lies the undeveloped Shtokman gas field, one of the world's biggest.