Both Gazprom and Rosneft want the license to the Murmanskoye field in the Barents Sea.
The scene is set for another Arctic power battle between Russia's two leading energy companies as they both sign up for the license to the Murmanskoye field.
In an interview with newspaper Vedomosti, Natural Resource Minister Sergey Donskoy confirms that the federal government has not yet decided which which of the two companies will get the license. He reiterates however that the main rule is that Gazprom gets licenses to gas fields while Rosneft gets the oil fields.
Until now, the Murmanskoye has been considered first of all a gas field. Estimates indicate gas resources of up to 120 billion cubic meters. As previously reported, the regional government in Murmansk has seen the field resources as a possible source of heating energy and power for new industrial initiatives.
The structure is located about 220 km off the coast of the Kola Peninsula.
In the interview, Donskoy also confirms that his ministry has granted relaxed terms in 13 Arctic offshore licenses, five of them for Gazprom and eight for Rosneft, following the introduction of western sanctions. The minister does not want to comment on whether the Pobeda field in the Kara Sea is among the ones with new terms.
Rosneft was originally to conduct a second drilling operation at the University-1 (Pobeda) field in 2015. However, that operation was postponed. The company in 2014 completed a historical drilling operation at the structure, which lead to the discovery of more than 130 million tons of oil. The drilling was part of a comprehensive partnership agreement with ExxonMobil.
BarentsObserver previously reported about a three-year time extension in seven of its offshore Arctic licenses.
While Rosneft has 50 licenses to offshore Arctic fields, Gazprom has about 40.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.