Treaty heralds "new era" in North Sea co-operation

News - February 4, 2005

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UK Energy Minister Mike O'Brien met with his Norwegian counterpart Thorhild Widvey earlier this week to mark the conclusion of detailed negotiations on the UK/Norway Framework Treaty, paving the way for unprecedented co-operation on North Sea projects between the two States.

The announcement from Sanderstolen, Norway, is the result of extensive bi-lateral discussions between the two Governments and effectively 'freezes' the text of the new treaty ahead of the formal signature ceremony later this year.

Mike O'Brien said: "Today marks a real milestone in the relationship between the two States. Two years of hard work and amicable and constructive negotiation has laid the foundation for decades of mutually beneficial trade and exploitation of North Sea reserves between our two countries."

"The UK will not only benefit from the new Langeled pipeline project which can supply up to 20 per cent of our future gas needs but Norway can be confident that it has a stable, long-term partner and outlet for its gas. Oil and gas companies in both theUK and Norway can now develop further lucrative cross-boundary oil and gas deals on a much clearer and faster basis. This is a win-win outcome for all parties. Today's announcement helps ensure that the huge potential that stillremains for the economic recovery of hydrocarbons in the North Sea is realised. I would urge the oil and gas industry in both the UK and Norway to use this landmark announcement as the springboard on which to bring forward new projects, they need not wait for the formal signing of the Agreement. Indeed there is already tangible evidence that the process of co-operation is working; the dynamic approach adopted by the two Governments and the commercial participants recently enabled the development of twosmall oil fields, Playfair in the UK and Boa in Norway, to proceed."

"With the benefit of the Treaty we will now be able to tackle more ambitious developments and the UK and Norwegian Governments are already working hard to deliver on this. In addition, other initiatives, including cross-border Mentoring and Share fairs together with a unification of the prequalification process, are set to bring added prosperity to the Supply Chain in both countries."

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