01:00 GMT08 March 2021
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    The newest round of talks about the possibility of granting access to private oil companies to the Russia's Arctic shelf will be held in the coming weeks, according to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — The Russian government will discuss the possibility of granting access to private oil companies to the Arctic shelf in coming weeks, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Thursday.

    "The newest round of talks will be held in the coming weeks," Dvorkovich told RBC channel.

    "The government's final position has not been decided yet, but there is discussion regarding the possibility of limited access to the shelf for private companies of Russian origin… But the discussion regarding the conditions and the volume is not over yet," Dvorkovich said.

    Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin said that the final decision on whether to provide private oil and gas companies access to the Russian area of the shelf will be made by the end of July.

    Under existing laws, only Russian energy companies with majority state ownership and five years experience in offshore drilling are allowed to extract oil and gas from Russia's Arctic shelf deposits.

    There are currently only two Russian companies – Gazprom and Rosneft – that meet these requirements.

    The Arctic shelf is believed to hold enormous deposits of oil and natural gas. Five countries bordering the area are particularly interested in the wealth of the Arctic, including Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Denmark.

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    Tags:
    Arkady Dvorkovich, Arctic, Russia
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