Russian companies should be allowed to raise stakes in oil and gas fields in the country that are being developed by Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Total SA (FP), one of the nation's energy officials said.
The Natural Resources Ministry is interested in proposals for Russian companies to get larger stakes in Exxon and Shell projects in the Sakhalin region in Russia's Far East and in Total's Kharyaga field in northern European Russia, Anatoly Ledovskikh, the head of Russia's state agency for natural resource use, said today at an oil and gas summit in Paris.
Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total lead different groups of investors that plan to spend a total of at least $35 billion to tap fields in the Russian Far East and Arctic. The Russian government plans to block foreign investors from bidding for the nation's largest oil, gas and ore fields to protect domestic companies. President Vladimir Putin is raising control over the country's resources building up Russia as one of the main global energy policy makers.
The Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, which was set up in 1990 and has 4,000 members, this month recommended to the Natural Resource Ministry that Russian companies get larger stakes in the projects, to boost efficiency and accelerate oil and gas field development.
Russia is the world's second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia. State-run OAO Gazprom owns about 16 percent of the global natural gas reserves and delivers about a quarter of European consumption of the fuel.
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