Russia’s OAO Lukoil Holdings has proposed investing USD 2.7 billion in geological survey work on Russia’s Arctic shelf, Interfax reported on Thursday.
Lukoil sent applications to the Russian government at the beginning of this month expressing readiness to conduct surveys at four licenses in the Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas.
Under the current rule, only two state-owned companies, OAO Rosneft and Gazprom, are allowed to own offshore licenses, although other companies can partner with them on projects.
The Russian government is currently reworking its program for the development of its Arctic shelf. Earlier this year, Russian officials met with representatives from Chevron about operations on the Russian Arctic shelf, and they hinted about allowing nonstate companies to become operators and gain project control in the country’s northern offshore fields. Nonstate corporations are currently precluded from operation or majority ownership of Russia’s strategic Arctic reserves by the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources rules.
In June, Rosneft and ExxonMobil announced the joint development of an Arctic Research Center for Offshore Developments in western Siberia.
In May, the Russian government began preparing shares in Rosneft and Gazprom for privatization between 2013 and 2015, as the government said it plans to triple its volume of privatization to USD 9.17 billion this year. On Monday, it was announced that BP plans to sell its interest in Russian joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft in exchange for an 18.5% interest in Rosneft and USD 17.1 billion in cash.