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Gazprom against private companies' access to Arctic shelf

MOSCOW--The chief executive of Russia' s OAO Gazprom said the state-owned natural gas monopoly doesn' t want the government to allow development of the country' s largely untapped Arctic shelf gas fields by private energy companies, Russian agencies report Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at the Arctic city of Novy Urengoi, Alexei Miller said the company won' t provide the state with the licenses for the offshore fields it is not interested in.

Only state-controlled companies, among them OAO Rosneft  and Gazprom, are allowed to hold offshore licenses.

The issue of whether state or privately-owned companies should be allowed to develop the potentially huge resources on Russia' s shelf has been simmering for some time. Non-state firms such as OAO Lukoil Holdings (LKOH.RS), Russia' s second-largest crude oil producer, have long pushed for permission to be involved.

Russia' s natural resources ministry proposed Tuesday that offshore oil and gas fields on the country' s Arctic shelf that aren' t wanted by state-controlled firms should be explored and developed by non-state companies.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last August called for the government' s shelf development plan to be reworked but the new plan has been delayed due to reported opposition from Gazprom and Rosneft over allowing non-state firms to own offshore licenses.

Oil giant Rosneft last year signed long-term deals with Exxon Mobil Corp., Eni SpA and Statoil ASA to develop offshore oil and gas reserves.

Meanwhile, Russia' s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Tuesday that Rosneft may shortly get 12 licenses at the Arctic shelf and Gazprom could receive 17.

01/15/2013

 

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