Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has expressed an interest in having Russian oil companies explore for oil in the famed “Dragon Zone”, an area in the northeast of Iceland’s fishing waters.
Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was in Moscow yesterday, along with Putin, at an international meeting of polar countries. Russian president Dmitri Medvedev has already expressed an interest in visiting Iceland, in particular to check out our developments in clean energy.
Vísir reports that Putin took it a step further, saying that he wanted the two countries to develop their friendship further over the coming years. He also pointed out that Iceland could stand to be very influential among the polar countries, due to the Dragon Zone – an area in the northeast of Iceland’s fishing waters which is reputed to contain up to one-fourth of the world’s oil and gas needs, although no drilling has begun there.
The Russian prime minister also said that the use of new energy resources and new sailing channels opening up (due to the melting of the polar ice cap) called for greater cooperation between the polar countries.
In addition to showing an interest in the Dragon Zone, Putin also expressed a desire to see Iceland conduct geothermal energy exploration in the Kamchatka peninsula.
Half a world away, in New York, Icelandic foreign minister Össur Skarphéðinsson said that Iceland wants to develop their friendship with Russia, that Iceland regards the country as “a big and friendly neighbor”.
The Ministry of Industry announced last March that it would begin to auction drilling licenses for the Dragon Zone some time next year.