Russian firm Gazprom gets four Arctic gas fields

Moscow, May 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian government has granted state-controlled gas giant Gazprom the right to explore four gas fields in the northern Barents Sea.

The four offshore fields hold an estimated 1.8 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, according to figures provided in the decree of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia produced 655 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2012, according to official statistics.

The gas giant will pay about nine billion rubles ($290 million) for the right to explore the fields until 2018, said the decree, published on the government website.

State corporations Gazprom and Rosneft are the only companies authorised to work on Russia’s Arctic continental shelf.

Gazprom was reported last month to have filed applications for 20 gas fields in the Arctic.

Neither company has begun drilling for oil or gas in the Arctic so far, though both plan to do so in joint ventures with foreign companies.

Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, oppose the Arctic drilling plans, saying that no safe technologies are currently available for offshore drilling under ice.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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