The Russian government is likely to give energy major Gazprom several new licences to offshore fields outside Sakhalin and Kamchatka. The decision is a blow to oil major Rosneft, which also wanted the licenses.
Competition over shelf resources between the two Russian petroleum majors Gazprom and Rosneft is hardening as the state is gradually opening up for more offshore activities. A press release from Gazprom now indicates that the company is likely to get the exclusive licenses already by the end of the year. The government decision on the issue was made at a session in Vladivostok on September 1, newspaper Vedomosti reports. The gas company will get the licenses without tenders. The generous government decision is not the first – this spring Gazprom got another ten licenses without competition. The strained relations between the two state-controlled petroleum giants Gazprom and Rosneft are rooted in different factions in the Kremlin and the government White House. President Medvedev is former board leader of Gazprom, a position which today is held by Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov. Meanwhile, Deputy PM Igor Sechin is board chairman of Rosneft. The relations between the two companies thus also partly reflect different positions within the ruling political structures of the country.