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Russian Arctic shelf exploration put on halt

04.05.2008 Russia might have to wait with it much-announced exploration offensive in Arctic waters. It turns out that the country has leased out key parts of its exploration equipment, parts of it to Norway.

Russia has major plans for hydrocarbon exploration in the Arctic, but might now have to postpone drilling with several years, news site Rbc.ru reports. A control study initiated by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov shows that key parts of Russian exploration equipment have been leased out to foreign companies.

The study conducted by a government special commission also shows that the equipment has been leased out without tenders and to a price 3-4 times lower than the market price.

According to Rbc, the Russian drilling ship “Valentin Shashin” and the rig “Murmanskaya” have both been leased to Norwegian companies on contracts which expires only in respectively year 2023 and 2010. The "Valentin Shashin" has been renamed to "Deep Venture"

While the “Murmanskaya” has been leased to the company Beta Drilling for 42.000 USD per day, the “Valentin Shashin” has been leased to the company Arba for 21.000 USD per day. According to Newsru.com, the market price for the equipment would be respectively 134.000 USD and 75.000 USD.

As a consequence of the finding by the special commission, PM Zubkov has already initiated an investigation of the company which leased out the equipment, the Murmansk-based Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka.

Source: www.barentsobserver.com

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