Two agreements on maritime demarcation in the southern part of the Smutt Sea have entered into force after a long process of talks

Two agreements on maritime delimitation in the southern part of the Smutt Sea (Smutthavet) have entered into force

Maritime delimitation agreements between Norway, Denmark/Faroe Islands and Iceland have entered into force

Norway’s two agreements on maritime delimitation with Denmark/Faroe Islands and Iceland, signed on 30 October 2019, have now entered into force.

The same applies to a similar agreement between Denmark/Faroe Islands and Iceland. The entry into force of the three agreements marks the end of a long process which together clarifies the demarcation between the three states’ continental shelf in the south of the Smutthavet. The agreements will create clarity and predictability with regard to future resource utilization. The process to put these agreements in place testifies to the good maritime law cooperation between Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

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The three agreements concern the delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the southern part of the Smutt Sea, that is to say in the area between the Faroe Islands, Iceland, mainland Norway and Jan Mayen. In this area, Norway, Iceland and Denmark have overlapping continental shelves. The agreements clarify where the demarcation lines between the Norwegian, Icelandic and Danish shelves are to be drawn. This also makes it clear which state has the right to resources found on the seabed.

In addition to provisions on branch lines, the agreement between Norway and Denmark/Faroe Islands also contains provisions on the handling of transboundary discoveries of hydrocarbons and other minerals. For Norway and Iceland, this is regulated in an agreement from 2008 on transboundary hydrocarbon deposits.

The negotiations started in 2016, but already in 2006 the three states signed a negotiation protocol (“Agreed Minutes”) on delimitation. At that time, the states were still waiting for recommendations from the Continental Shelf Commission on the extent of the shelves beyond 200 nautical miles. After Norway received its recommendation in 2009, and then Iceland and Denmark in 2014 and 2016, the assumption of an overlapping shelf was confirmed. The agreements that were subsequently negotiated were in line with the agreement from 2006. They were signed during the Nordic Council’s session in Stockholm in 2019.

On 10 June 2021, the Storting unanimously gave its consent to the conclusion of the agreements. After the internal processes had also been finalized in Denmark and Iceland, the last steps in the process could be carried out in December 2022. The agreement between Norway and Iceland entered into force on 13 December and the agreement between Norway and Denmark/Faroe Islands entered into force on 14 December.

Source: Press Release

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New maritime delimitation agreements for Smutt Sea comes into force

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