A draft law on companies' access to the undistributed Arctic shelf will be submitted for public discussion within a month. This was announced by Alexander Krutikov, Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, at the parliamentary hearings "On the course of preparation of the draft strategy for the development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation until 2035".
"We supported the expansion of access to the undistributed shelf of private companies. The corresponding bill is being prepared and will be presented for discussion within a month", - he said.
Following the results of the august meeting of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Deputy Prime Minister - Plenipotentiary Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District (FEFD) Yuri Trutnev were instructed to develop draft laws expanding the access of private investors to the development of the Arctic shelf. According to the order, the bill to expand the access of private investors to the Arctic shelf should provide for the expansion of the circle of persons who may be granted the right to use the subsoil containing reserves and resources of hydrocarbons located on the continental shelf of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation.
Currently, according to the law, only state-controlled companies (in which the state owns at least 50% stake) with at least five years of experience on the shelf can claim to develop the subsoil of the Russian Arctic shelf. Since 2016, there has been a moratorium on issuing new licenses for offshore fields, and now only Gazprom and Rosneft are allowed to operate on the shelf.
Trutnev estimated the resources of the Arctic shelf at 17 billion tons of liquid hydrocarbons and 85 trillion cubic meters of gas. At the same time, the degree of geological exploration of the Arctic in general and the shelf, in particular, remains extremely low, he noted.