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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State May Dole Out 37 Fields

Russia is considering awarding federal status to 37 unexploited gas fields, which would allow the government to award the deposits without contest to a firm of its choice, a government source said Tuesday.

Analysts said Gazprom would be the most likely candidate to win the reserves, which have total proved and probable reserves of 11 trillion cubic meters, enough to boost Gazprom's already vast reserves by over one-third.

"Gazprom appears to be the only candidate qualified to receive and develop reserves of this magnitude," said Steven Dashevsky, head of research at Aton brokerage.

The Industry and Energy Ministry has suggested transferring the 37 fields to the state's list of strategic deposits. The Natural Resources and Economic Development and Trade ministries are now considering the proposal, the government source said.

"If the suggestion is approved and the fields are given federal status, the government would decide on which company to hand the licenses to without putting them up for a contest," said the source, who works in one of the ministries.

Last month Gazprom asked the government to give it out-of-competition rights to develop the Chayandinskoye deposit in Yakutia and gas blocks in the Sakhalin-3 project -- all from the Industry and Energy Ministry's proposed list.

Gazprom declined to comment.