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.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.