​Putin allows private investors to explore oil in Baltic Sea

Reuters / Todd Korol
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that allows private oil companies to carry out oil exploration and develop fields discovered by them in the Baltic Sea.

The document published Monday lists guarantees for getting drilling licenses if the company received the right to geological exploration at the site before 2008.

Russian legislation limits the number of enterprises that have access to offshore fields. Only state controlled companies that had at least five years of shelf drilling experience could previously access deposits in the Baltic Sea. Until now only Russia’s two major energy companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, have met those requirements.

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In late April, Rosneft accused the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources of lobbying in the interest of private companies. The company said that the idea of allowing private enterprises to explore the shelf was geared towards Lukoil (the largest oil company not under state control of Russia).

In 2012, private companies such as Lukoil, Surgutneftegaz and a number of other major oil and gas companies asked Putin to expand their access to shelf exploration, pointing out that without the involvement of private companies oil exploration would slow down.

Lukoil is already running a project in the Baltic Sea’s Kravtsovskoye field, where production began in 2004. The deposit is located 23 kilometers off the coast of the Kaliningrad region. According exploration findings, the proven and preliminary estimated reserves in Kravtsovskoye total 21.5 million tons, while the volumes of recoverable reserves amount to 9.1 million tons.