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Russia to Split New Offshore Fields Between Rosneft and Gazprom

offshore oil rig in Russian Far East.jpg

Russia will equally split all new offshore oil and gas fields between state firms Rosneft and Gazprom, further limiting foreign and private access to its energy, Vedomosti business daily said on Monday, Jan. 22.

The paper quoted government sources as saying the decision was taken at a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and government officials last week.

Gazprom and Rosneft declined immediate comments.

The newspaper said Russian officials had decided that all undistributed offshore fields would be offered only at closed auctions, which reduce chances of collecting maximum money to state coffers but guarantee no surprise winner.

Analysts, interviewed by the paper, said the move was largely expected as it was part of a wider Kremlin drive to increase control over natural resources, which started with the demise of oil firm Yukos and a virtual re-nationalization of a third of Russian oil production.

State officials have repeatedly favored state firms for offshore fields, which are due to replace West and East Siberia in the second half of this century to support Russian oil and gas output growth.

Russia has also been seeking to regain control over existing offshore projects, such as Sakhalin-2, with Gazprom buying half of it from Royal Dutch/Shell and its Japanese partners for $7.45 billion after months of pressure from state ecological officials.

© MosNews

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