The authorities have threatened to take a pause in the issuance of Rosneft licenses on the shelf

The government may take a pause in the issuance of “Rosneft” of new licenses for offshore fields prior to the implementation of the company’s obligations under the already obtained areas, said Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin said on Thursday.

“I think we at one point we take a break. Say: how you can issue licenses? Say, guys, that you took, how many you have — let’s do it,” — said Hloponin, answering the question of whether to give Rosneft new licenses on the shelf, if the company postpones the date drilling on the already obtained areas (quoted by “RIA Novosti”).

At the same time Vice-Prime Minister reminded that President Vladimir Putin took a decision on the law of state-owned companies to develop offshore areas. “It is not discussed, and no one disputes”, — he stressed.

The representative of “Rosneft” Mikhail Leontyev refused to comment.

In September the Ministry of natural resources has made changes to the license commitments by drilling on the shelf for eight licenses to Rosneft. As a result, the timing of drilling have been postponed for two or three years.

In the spring of 2015 the Ministry of environment asked the government to suspend the issuance of licenses to companies for work offshore. The Agency has offered to allow private companies to exploration and production on the shelf, allowing them to form bidding consortia. Under current law, access to shelf can have only state-controlled companies with experience not less than five years. These requirements meet in Russia only “Gazprom” and “Rosneft”.

In December the Minister of natural resources Sergey Donskoy said that “active discussion” of the issue of liberalizing access to the shelf in the government is suspended.