Arctic explorer’s ship to return to Norway

Canada has authorized the repatriation to Norway of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen's three-mast ship Maud from the Canadian Arctic, a project representative said on Friday.

Arctic explorer's ship to return to Norway
Photo: Galleri NOR

The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board revisited a December decision and granted an export permit for the ship, said Jan Wanggaard, manager of the effort to bring the Maud to Norway.

Residents of Cambridge Bay, Canada had opposed losing a treasured artifact that has become a tourist attraction in the far north.

Wanggaard hailed the "great news."

"We can now go ahead and make plans to prepare ourselves for the great challenge to finally bring Maud home," he told AFP.

In 1906, Amundsen became the first European to sail through the Northwest Passage searching for a shorter shipping route from Europe to Asia, something explorers had been trying to find for centuries.

Five years later, he became the first person to reach the South Pole. His attempts to reach the North Pole however failed.

Amundsen again sailed through the Northeast Passage with the Maud in 1918-20, but was unable to get far enough north to launch a North Pole expedition.

Amundsen tried, and failed, one more time from the Bering Strait in 1920-21.

The Maud, built in Asker, Norway and named after Norway's Queen Maud, was sold to Hudson's Bay Company in 1925 and rechristened the Baymaud. It ended its days as a floating warehouse and the region's first radio station before sinking at its moorings in 1930.

In 1990, Asker Council in Norway bought the wreck for just $1 and obtained an export permit from Canada. The permit, however, had expired.

The Norwegian group hopes to return the shipwreck to Norway at mid-year to be the centerpiece of a new museum.

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Canada and Norway’s Equinor reach accord on big offshore oil find

Authorities in Canada's easternmost province said Thursday they had reached a tentative agreement with Norwegian oil giant Equinor to develop a major oil field discovered off Newfoundland in the North Atlantic.

Canada and Norway's Equinor reach accord on big offshore oil find
A file photo of a Norwegian oil platform. Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

The province has agreed with the petroleum company, the former Statoil, to acquire a 10 percent share in the planned exploration of the oil field in the Bay du Nord, 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of capital city Saint John's, said Dwight Ball, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Province.

The field is estimated to contain at least 300 million barrels of oil, lying some 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) below the ocean's surface. Plans call for the first deep-water platform in eastern Canada, officials said.

Exploratory work is set to begin in 2020, with the first oil production expected in 2025.

“This framework agreement provides important clarity and stability (for) Equinor and our partner Husky Energy,” said Unni Fjær, vice president of Equinor's Canadian subsidiary.

According to official estimates, the Bay du Nord project will cost Can$6.8 billion ($5.2 billion) while generating some Can$3.5 billion in revenues for Newfoundland, through taxes and royalties.

Statoil, Equinor's predecessor, had announced in 2013 the discovery of oil in the Flemish Pass Basin, a relatively little-explored geological formation within the Bay du Nord.

Three years later the Norwegian company announced that the oil field contained exploitable reserves totalling between 300 million and 600 million barrels.

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