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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

31 Gas Fields Listed As Strategic

The government has designated 31 natural gas deposits as "strategic" for ensuring fuel deliveries to domestic consumers, including a field ExxonMobil had sought off Sakhalin.

Licenses to the deposits have not yet been awarded, according to an order signed by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and published on the government's web site Monday. The Natural Resources Ministry is seeking to limit control of so-called strategic fields to Russian companies.

State-controlled Gazprom plans to develop major new fields as three of its largest producing fields, Urengoi, Yamburg, and Medvezhye, are in decline.

"Gazprom has made sure that no sizeable projects will happen without its control," Artyom Konchin, a gas analyst at Aton Capital, said Monday. "Now we need to know the framework for such partnerships, and whether foreign partners will be able to book reserves."

The deposits, in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, the Sakha republic and offshore zones in the Arctic and near Sakhalin, were chosen to "ensure Russia's energy security," according to the government's web site.

ExxonMobil had sought to recover rights to the Kirinsky block off Sakhalin in the Sea of Okhotsk after the government in 2004 canceled the results of a tender held more than 10 years earlier. The government has estimated that the Kirinsky block, part of the Sakhalin-3 project, may contain the equivalent of as much as 700 million tons of oil and gas.