Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources supports the idea of allowing private companies to develop Arctic shale but it is now impossible to assess whether they are interested in this with current oil prices, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Dmitry Kobylkin told TASS on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok.
"One needs to approach the issue of developing a certain territory with an understanding of whether it is feasible. For now, we understand very well that Russia's Arctic zone has not been researched well enough. Of course, we would want to research it more thoroughly. The government cannot afford making this kind of investment now, as it is very expensive. Everything that pertains to the Arctic is very expensive. Maybe it will be feasible to open the gates as wide as possible for those who would want to participate in this. In any case, we do not risk anything here," Kobylkin said.
He added that Gazprom and Rosneft who are developing large deposits on the Arcric shale at the moment, have fulfilled all their obligations.
"We are talking about [access of foreign investors to] the undistributed funds, about the under-researched territory. Of course, it would be great if such investors emerge. For now, I know that Lukoil expressed interest when oil prices were significantly higher than now. It is hard for me to tell what they will say today," the minister said.
He noted that the Ministry of Natural Resouces will finalize its official position on the issue in the nearest future. "In any case, we will determine the rules of the game. We will definitely state our position on this. In general, the more thouroughly we research the territory, the better," Kobyklin concluded.