MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - The delay in the approval of the new version of the subsoil law could be one to two months, the natural resources minister said Wednesday. Yury Trutnev said the delay was not decisive for Russia as a whole and expressed the hope that the law would be adopted in the first half of 2006.
According to Trutnev, his ministry would finalize the law and send it to the regions for repeat discussion.
Trutnev said the current amendments did not change the structure of the law.
"They deal with the admission of foreign companies to deposits, the procedure of getting the right of subsoil use under the licenses issued before the adoption of the new law and the possibility for the state to terminate such contracts out of court," he said.
Trutnev said it was necessary to determine subsoils where preferences for domestic companies should be made.
The minister said the criteria of more than 1 trillion cu m of gas and 150 million metric tons of oil for deposits to be called strategic were necessary in the new law.
"Otherwise, we would simply deceive our foreign partners," he said.