Til sengs med bjørnen? : sikkerhetspolitiske aspekter ved olje- og gassutvinning i Barentshavet

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This report outlines possible security political consequences related to co-operation between Norway and Russia with respect to oil- and gas production in the Barents Sea. There are, however, several barriers to such co-operation. Climatic conditions and distant markets make the economic feasibility uncertain. Legal uncertainty and unpredictability as regards political developments in Russia may also deter foreign investors. Oil price fluctuations may also play a role as do the non-availability of in-country capital sources in Russia. One main goal of Norwegian-Russian oil- and gas cooperation is to create positive effects economically that may spill over into the security sphere. Military interests, however, dominate Russian policy in the region to such a degree that this may be unrealistic in the near term. The report points to three possible causes of conflict related to oil- and gas activity. Firstly, sabotage and terrorist attacks against infrastructure or personnel, although not very probable, may become an option to conflicting parties within Russia. Secondly, co-operation between Norway and Russia in this field may in itself create conflicts that may escalate as a result of the dominant military interests in the area. Thirdly, in a crisis one of the actors may choose to escalate the conflict by threatening to damage oil- and gas infrastructure. Generally, however, the risks seem small. Still, any cooperation that may take place should hedge against detrimental developments by, among other measures, increasing international participation and limiting the activity as much as possible to purely businesslike relations.
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