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21

Norway, Russia To Jointly Develop Barents Sea

If the Norwegians could help open up development of the Barents Sea, it would give the oil-hungry U.S. an alternative

The Norwegian and Russian governments will sign a general agreement to cooperate on developing their energy resources on Monday; the Norwegian prime minister's office informed Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.

Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, accompanied by Oil and Energy Minister Thorhild Widvey, will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

The chief executives of Norwegian oil and gas companies Statoil ASA and Norsk Hydro ASA and Russia's gas producer Gazprom are also expected to join the meeting.

The agreement comes at a time when the two Norwegian companies, along with a host of other Western oil and gas companies, are courting Gazprom for a stake in its 3.2 trillion cubic meter Shtokman natural gas project in the Arctic Barents Sea.

Analysts said if the Norwegians could help open up development of the Barents Sea, it would give the energy-hungry U.S. an alternative energy source in a more stable part of the world than areas like the Middle East.