4 Mar 2019 16:42

Trutnev proposing expansion of access to shelf via amendments to subsoil resources law, possibly as early as this year

MOSCOW. March 4 (Interfax) - Access to the shelf should be expanded via amendments to the law on subsoil resources, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Representative to the Far East Federal District Yury Trutnev, who also heads up the State Commission on Arctic Development, told Interfax in an interview.

"As for legislation, then, it's possible that the first step could in fact be a change to the state law on subsoil resources, as regards the stipulation that only companies with 50% state participation can operate on the shelf. If we are able to do at least this, then we will show the whole world - the lock is off the door, the path lies open for global innovations, technologies and investment. Then the time will come to think together about how the foreign investor can enter this door. All the prerequisites are there for interest on the part of certain foreign companies. And, of course, private domestic companies will also be given great prospects," Trutnev said.

"But the most important thing in this process will not even be the fact of removing the lock and opening the doors. The most important thing is that the Arctic will be given a real development impulse, and the Russian oil sector will be able to make a further leap forward, one about which we can't even speak at present. I will explain it very simply - the timeframe of developing shelf assets is 10-15 years. If one begins to carry out an Arctic shelf project from scratch right today, it will be implemented near the 2035 horizon. Where will the global oil sector have shifted in this time? Particularly if we look at how quickly the structure of our energy consumption is changing," he said.

If Russia "spends another 10-15 years just sitting on its shelf reserves, doing nothing, then in the lifetimes of our children or grandchildren, these reserves will cease being sought after," Trutnev said.

"Domestic legislation needs to become flexible, it must look to the market, monitor changing trends. We have already lost quite a lot of time. And in light of new challenges for the Arctic territories, changes to legislation have become particularly relevant," he said.

"We're going to do our best," Trutnev said when asked whether the changes to the subsoil resources law that he mentioned could take place as early as this year.