Gazprom demands Arctic tax breaks
Gazprom might delay the first oil from its Prirazlomnoye project until the Russian Government comes up with a resolution on tax breaks on Arctic offshore oilfields.
A Gazprom spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday that output from the much-delayed Prirazlomnoye project – the only major oil deposit expected to come on stream in Russia this year – will now be launched in the second half of the year, instead of the first quarter, as originally planned, Upstreamonline writes.
Gazprom has been pursuing the Arctic project in the Pechora Sea for years. Cost overruns and delays in the construction of the platform have postponed the launch several times. Earlier this week Sevmash said that production would start in March.
But the state-owned company has failed to persuade the government to help the project with much-needed tax breaks, despite last year's announcement that a committee headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, also Gazprom's chairman, recommended Prirazlomnoye for a preferential oil export fee.
"As of today, the Russian government has not decided on special custom tax rate for Prirazlomnoye field," Gazprom said. Sources in the government confirmed, that there has been no specific decision on the breaks, Reuters said.
Gazprom is also involved in the Shtokman gas project in the Barents Sea, where natural gas is expected to start flowing in 2016. The Russian giant is partnering with Total of France and Norway's Statoil on Shtokman.
The partners have also failed to persuade the Russian authorities to grant this project tax benefits. The final investment decision has been postponed to the end of the first quarter and the tax issue is seen as the key for Shtokman to go ahead.