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Rosneft expands in Barents Sea

Igor Sechin, President of the world's biggest oil company, gets even stronger in the Barents Sea. Photo: Rosneft.ru

Russian state oil company secures the licenses to another five major areas in the Barents Sea.

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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev this week signed the decree granting the oil company 12 more Arctic licenses, of them five in the Barents Sea. The Barents licenses are to the structures of Severo-Pomorsky-1, Yuzhno-Prinovozemelsky, Zapadno-Prinovozemelsky, Zapadno-Matveevsky and Russky, a decree posted on the government website reads.

In addition, the company got one license in the Kara Sea, three in the Chukotka Sea and three in the Laptev Sea.

As previously reported, Rosneft has strongly lobbied its right to acquire the new Arctic waters, all of them considered highly perspective. Following a hard-fought controversy with government ministers, a compromise was struck in a meeting last month. The deal includes Rosneft and Gazprom’s commitment to step up exploration and mapping of their license areas, as well as private companies’ right to take over licenses abandoned or not requested by the two state-controlled companies.

Following Rosneft’s acquisition of the 12 new areas, Gazprom is likely to secure control over  the 17 licenses, which the company has applied for at Rosnedra, Russia’s mineral agency.

With the acquision of the new licenses, Rosneft and Gazprom will control up to 80 percent of the prospective offshore areas in the Russian Arctic.

The government decree stresses that it will “help attract investments in geological exploration of areas on the Russian continental shelf”. Already overloaded with huge and ambitious projects stretching over major parts of the Arctic, Rosneft, now the world’s biggest oil company, will most likely have to team up with more foreign partners in order to keep up with license requirements. From before, the company has concluded offshore Arctic partnerships with ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil.