No more licenses on Russian shelf
In a letter to government, Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy proposes to suspend new license rounds on the country’s shelf. The reason is that the two state companies Gazprom and Rosneft have requested amended license terms and postponements in a number of the their Arctic projects.
«The Ministry considers it advisable that the issuing of licenses to fields on the continental shelf is halted», the letter reads, RIA Novosti reports.
The proposal is also connected with an ongoing change in the ministry’s license procedures, Donskoy explains. New regulations will clearly define procedural judgement in cases when both Gazprom and Rosneft bid for the same licenses.
Over the last years, the two state companies have ended up in bitter disputes over prospective Arctic fields. Among the disputed fields has been the Murmanskoye in the Barents Sea.
According to Russian legislation, only state companies with experiences from shelf development are entitled to operated offshore licenses. That has efficiently pushed all companies except Gazprom and Rosneft out of the contest.
Donskoy confirms that his ministry will handle license bids which already have been submitted, but that new bids will be put on ice. According to RIA Novosti, no new licenses have been issued since May.
Rosneft today controls more than 40 offshore licenses, among which six are in the Barents Sea, eight in the Pechora Sea, four in the Kara Sea, four in the Laptev Sea and four in the East Siberian Sea.