Thursday, January 17, 2013

Global warming opening up Russia's Arctic

Space Daily via UPI: Russian state-owned energy firms are preparing to move into the country's offshore polar regions. On Jan. 15 Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich's told journalists that the state-controlled Rosneft and Gazprom energy companies are to receive licenses to develop the 12 and 17 arctic continental shelf sectors. The decision is raising concerns among the country's private energy companies that they will be locked out of developing the country's potentially vast arctic hydrocarbon reserves.

Russia's natural resources ministry proposed on Jan. 15 that offshore oil and gas fields on the country's Arctic shelf that isn't wanted by state-controlled firms should be explored and developed by non-state companies.

Private companies have so far failed to break the monopoly of Gazprom and Rosneft on hydrocarbons exploration on Russia's offshore continental maritime shelf, as currently only Russian state-controlled companies, including Rosneft and Gazprom, are allowed to hold offshore licenses in Russian territorial waters, Russkoe Informatsionnoe Agenstvo news agency reported on Tuesday.

Currently energy companies that want to acquire licenses to work on the Russian continental offshore shelf have to have a minimum of 50 percent state ownership and foreign and Russian private companies have to sign contracts with either Gazprom or Rosneft.

In further bad news for Russian private energy firms, Gazprom is not interested in relinquishing to state control the licenses for those offshore fields it is not interested in, according to Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller, speaking to reporters in Novy Urengoi, above the Arctic Circle....

Three icebreakers, some of them Russian, shot by US Department of "Homeland Security," public domain

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