Norway is the world's third largest exporter of natural gas and the sixth largest exporter of oil. While oil production has been falling in recent years, natural gas production continues to rise.
Norway has a highly-developed oil and natural gas sector. Norway's oil production peaked in 2001 at 3.42 million barrels per day (bbl/d) and has been steadily declining since, reaching 2.47 million bbl/d in 2008. Natural gas production, on the other hand, has been steadily increasing since 1993, reaching 3.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2008. All of Norway's oil and natural gas fields are located subsea on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Most of the new discoveries being made are natural gas. The Norwegian government is committed to developing the frontier Barents Sea region as existing North Sea fields mature.
One issue that has hampered the development of oil and natural gas reserves in the northern Barents Sea area has been the lack of a defined maritime boundary between Norway and Russia. However, on June 5, 2009, Russian state-owned gas companyGazprom and Norwegian state-controlled oil company StatoilHydro signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding to work together in exploring and developing their Arctic sea regions. According to a joint statement, the two companies will work together on development of the Shtokman field, some 345 miles from land in 1,148 feet of water. It holds estimated gas reserves of around 113 trillion cubic feet.
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