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Rosneft puts shelf on hold

Igor Sechin and his Rosneft in 2014 discovered the "Pobeda" field in the Kara Sea, but will hardly do any more Arctic drilling over the next two years.

The state-owned company requests permission for 2-year extended license terms in 12 offshore Arctic projects.

In a letter to the Russian Mineral Agency (Rosnedra), Rosneft requests permission to postpone exploration activities in 12 Arctic licenses. The reason is the pull-out of foreign partners and the consequent problems with getting the necessary project investments, RIA Novosti reports with reference to Vedomosti.

The license areas in question are located in the Barents Sea, Pechora Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and East-Siberian Sea. The extension requested is between 1,5 and 2 years.

Rosneft has a total of 48 licenses on the Russian shelf, most of them acquired over the last two years. License area resources are preliminary estimated to as much as 41,8 billion tons oil equivalents.

Reportedly, Rosnedra started to assess the request in January, but has not yet reached a conclusion.

Also other Russian oil companies are applying for license adjustments. According to Vedomosti, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz, Bashneft and Tatneft have approached the Kremlin with requests to introduce a moratorium on the companies’ license obligations.

Rosneft has foreign partners, among them ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil, in a number major Arctic offshore projects, and is hit hard by the Western sanction regime. As previously reported, the company has already informed the authorities that it will not follow up the University-1 (“Pobeda”) field in the Kara Sea with originally planned well drillings in 2015.