Russian state-run energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom will be granted licenses to explore oil and natural gas at four fields in Russian Arctic, a Russian official said Wednesday.
'Rosneft and Gazprom will soon receive new licenses for the development of four fields on the shelf,' Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoi said, according to Russian news agency Sputnik.
Reminding that the government proposed in April to suspend approving licenses from Russian Arctic, Donskoi said his ministry continues to work as usual until a final decision is made by Moscow.
'The proposal [to suspend issuing shelf licenses] has been considered, but we continue to issue licenses under the current legislation. Today, the law stipulates the noncompetitive issuing of licenses to develop fields on the shelf,' Sputnik quoted him saying.
Moscow proposed in April to suspend issuing oil and gas licenses for exploration and extraction in Russian shelf deposits, until a final decision was made about giving private companies access to the Russian shelf, Sputnik noted.
Rosneft and Gazprom are the only two state-owned companies in the country that are given licenses to explore oil and gas in Russia's Arctic shelf.
A joint venture between Rosneft and U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil announced discovering huge oil resources in Kara Sea at the Arctic last year on September. However, due to the western sanctions on Russia, the U.S. energy company had to withdraw from the region a month later.
By Ovunc Kutlu