Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir and Russian Minister of Energy Sergey Shmatko signed an agreement between their respective countries regarding Iceland sharing geothermal technology and development in exchange for boosting tourism between the two, but one aspect of their previous discussions was conspicuously absent from media reports on the meeting: oil.
The agreement underscores Russia’s interest in developing geothermal power in areas of their country that show a potential for its development, such as in the Kamchatka peninsula. To this end, they want Iceland’s help in research and scientific development to be able to tap these areas for power.
In exchange, Katrín will sign an agreement between the two countries on tourism, and will send Icelandic tourist industry representatives to Russia. There, they will meet with Russian tourist companies to discuss their methods and operations.
However, one topic absent from media reports on the agreement was the possibility of Russia drilling for oil in Drekasvæði, located in the northeast corner of Iceland’s fishing waters.
When Shmatko visited Iceland last year, he did express an interest in learning more about geothermal power, saying that it was the primary reason for his visit. But Russia has long been interested in the possibility of exploring the region for oil, and Shmatko himself said he had urged Russian oil companies to begin work towards the possibility of drilling in the Dragon Zone.
What has become of this interest of Russia’s is as yet unknown, although it is suspected that Norway may have edged them out.