Arctic shelf subsoil plots to be auctioned off
© RIA Novosti. Ilya Timin

Arctic shelf subsoil plots to be auctioned off

The Russian Government has approved a draft law prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which stipulates auctions for companies wanting to secure the right to use subsoil plots on the Arctic continental shelf, the ministry reports on its website. The document will soon be submitted to the State Duma for its first reading.

"The draft law would make it possible to hold auctions where authorized companies could compete for the right to use subsoil plots of federal significance on Russia's continental shelf," the report says, citing Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Donskoi. At present, two companies have permission to develop such plots. These are Gazprom and Rosneft.

According to the minister, the current regulatory compliance practices revealed the drawbacks of the existing auction-free procedure for granting the right to use subsoil plots on Russia's continental shelf, which negatively affected the development of subsoil resources in current economic conditions.

Meanwhile, the Government has introduced a moratorium on the issuance of Arctic shelf licenses pending the fulfilment of obligations under the earlier granted licences. According to Minister Donskoi, the issuance of licenses may resume upon formal requests from Rosneft or Gazprom.