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This Is A Crucial Moment For Arctic Oil

The last two weeks have seen quite a flurry of news about Russia taking its Arctic projects to the next level, tapping into the “colossal” reserves of this still somewhat underdeveloped production region. In order to grasp the complexity of the task Russia faces with all its indisputably bountiful Arctic zone, one has to analyze bit by bit the paradoxes and undercurrents of its oil production in general – then you might understand how Gazprom Neft can claim at the same time that it “can do anything in the Arctic” yet is actively looking for partners to reduce production costs. The renewed interest in the Arctic is in large part a by-product of the oil price rise, so if Dated Brent drops below $60 per barrel, plans could be shelved once again.

Despite substantial Western hype about Russia pumping as much Arctic crude as it can, on the surface of it, Moscow’s success list is bleak with no evident promise of changes to come. After the Russian government modified the Subsoil Law in 2009, allowing only Rosneft and Gazprom Neft to operate Arctic and continental shelf projects, there is only one company – Gazprom Neft at its Prirazlomnoye field – producing Arctic oil. Gazprom Neft also claims that its Messoyakhinskoye and Novoportovskoye fields belong tot he Arctic category, yet both are technically onshore (for that matter, the mother company Gazprom does not call its Yamal gas fields, like Bovanenkovo, Arctic). Ever since the…




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