China, Norway may team up in search for Arctic oil

Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:25am EST
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* Oslo mulls taking stake in 3rd Iceland oil license

* Could be teaming with China's CNOOC and Icelandic oil firm

* May be a rare cooperation after 2010 Nobel Peace Prize row

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Norway is deciding whether to team up with China to explore for oil in Iceland, Icelandic authorities said, setting up a rare cooperation for the two since a diplomatic row over the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Norway has the right to join an exploration licence with Chinese oil firm CNOOC to look for oil in the waters between Iceland and Norway's Jan Mayen, a tiny speck of land in the Arctic.

Communications between Beijing and Oslo have been mostly cool since the 2010 Peace Prize and collaboration in Iceland may be a signal that relations are on the mend.

"We expect an answer from the Norwegian authorities in the last week of November," said Gudni Johannesson, director-general of Iceland's National Energy Authority, emphasising that there had been no diplomatic tensions over the issue.

"It has been a quite normal administrative process," he told Reuters.   Continued...