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Russia to implement major projects in Arctic exploration — newspaper

December 04, 2014, 17:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The state will create optimal business conditions for the projects by way of the subsoil use and tax system regulation

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© ITAR-TASS/Press Service of Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences

MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. The stake in Russia’s Arctic exploration is placed on implementing big investment projects, first of all by the major state companies, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy said in an interview with the Izvestia daily published on Thursday.

He said the state will create optimal business conditions for the projects by way of the subsoil use and tax system regulation.

“The Arctic mineral resource development is impossible without the supporting transport infrastructure, an important element of which is the Northern Sea Route,” the minister said, adding that state companies are the main participants in this process. “Such a programme would be hardly worked out without the state companies, because their - Gazprom and Rosneft - participation is decisive here,” Donskoy said.

He also said that Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom and major oil company Rosneft have not declared any change in their plans for the development of the Arctic shelf and other hard-to-reach fields after the introduction of the West’s sanctions against Russia.

“The companies are now analysing the situation, considering their further work on the shelf in the sanctions conditions, the manpower they need to manage and selecting the strategic model. If before the sanctions were imposed Rosneft was placing the main emphasis on partnership with foreign companies, then Gazprom was relying on its own strength, own capacities, own contractors and own enterprises,” Donskoi said.

“Both we and they are working within the framework of the plans and obligations that were initially specified in the licence terms. And we will continue to pursue these projects with taking into account the real economic and geopolitical situation,” the minister added.

He also said that after the imposition of the sanctions the stake was placed on the maximum localisation of equipment production and provision of services.

“We very well understand that without systemic action it will be impossible to make the maximum use of domestic production facilities in the work that is needed in the offshore field development. The development of decisions linked with the building of new ships, drilling equipment and technology is underway. As a result, everything should be put into a complex programme on which the Ministry of Industry and Trade is currently working,” Donskoy said.

Answering the question whether liberalisation of private companies’ access to offshore fields was planned, Donskoy said that “there are no specific plans at present on the expansion of access to the shelf” for such companies and “correspondingly this issue is not under discussion.”

In February 2013, the Russian Government approved the strategic program on Arctic development till 2020, signed by President Vladimir Putin. The strategic program includes development of an integrated transport system in the Arctic, establishment of a competitive scientific and technological sector, development of international cooperation and the preservation of the Arctic as a zone of peace.

The program on Arctic development states the main priorities for state investment policy, regulations of labour relations and social politics in the Arctic zone. The Russian Arctic zone includes the Murmansk region, Chukotka, the northern part of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, the Republic of Karelia’s coastal territories of the White Sea, the Arkhangelsk region including the cities of Severodvinsk, Novodvinsk, Onezhsky District, Primorsky District, Mezensky District and all the islands of the region. It also includes the towns of Vorkuta and Komi in the Nenets and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous areas, the cities of Norilsk, Igarka and the Taymyr district of Krasnoyarsk Krai.

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