Bloomberg News

Russia May Double Offshore Oil, Gas With Brazil Model, BofA Says

January 26, 2012

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Russian offshore oil and natural gas reserves could more than double in the next 15 years should the country follow Brazil’s example in attracting foreign investment and expertise, Bank of America Corp. said.

Russia could add 6 billion barrels of proved and probable reserves as well as gain additional revenue and a higher valuation for its oil and gas companies, the bank said in a report today.

“We see inaction as the largest risk to developing offshore reserves in Russia,” Karen Kostanian, head of Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Research at the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit, said in the report. “We do not believe that status quo on taxation or one-off tax breaks are enough to attract adequate investment to the industry.”

Russia, the world’s biggest oil producer and second-biggest gas producer, restricts development of fields in its waters to state companies. The country is considering adjusting the laws to allow more companies into offshore exploration and form ventures for field developments. OAO Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil producer, last year agreed with Exxon Mobil Corp to develop fields in the Kara Sea.

Like Brazil, Russia should allow private companies into licensing rounds for offshore reserves, form joint ventures with foreign partners and adopt “a comprehensive, clear and sustainable” tax regime, Merrill Lynch said.

Most of Russia’s oil and gas production comes from onshore Siberian deposits.

--Editors: Alex Devine, Amanda Jordan

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net


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