Russia Seeks Foreign Energy Partners for Arctic Projects

MOSCOW (Dow Jones Newswires), Sept. 16, 2009

Russia wants foreign companies to help develop vast offshore hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic and is preparing economic incentives to stimulate exploration in the region, the country's deputy resources minister, Sergey Donskoi, said Wednesday.

"To work under difficult conditions in the Arctic sea, there is a need for modern technology and financial resources from private companies, including foreign ones," Donskoi said on the ministry's Web site. Control of projects should stay with Russian companies, he said.

Work in the Arctic is so far limited to Russia's two state-controlled energy firms OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft.

The ministry has put forward a number of proposals to stimulate work exploration in the region, including lower credit rates from domestic lenders.

Gazprom, the world's biggest producer of natural gas, is working with France's Total S.A. and Norway's StatoilHydro ASA to develop the massive offshore Shtokman gas condensate field in the Barents Sea.  

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