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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trutnev Sees No Subsoil Law Before '08

The government is very unlikely to pass a new subsoil law this year, and the long awaited bill will not be passed until a new State Duma is formed next year, the Natural Resources Minister said in an interview published Thursday.

Investors have been waiting two years for the law, which they say will become a key indicator of the investment climate in Russia after the government said it would limit private firms' access to strategic sectors.

Investors have called on the government to determine the notion of "strategic" in new legislation, but top ministers have so far failed to find a compromise.

The Natural Resources Ministry has said it may propose to amend the existing legislation instead of approving a completely new subsoil law, but that this work has stalled as well.

"We will decide in the next few weeks whether to go to the Duma with amendments or focus all our efforts on the new law. Amendments are less welcomed as they only partly solve the problems," Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev told Kommersant. "But to be honest, chances are nonexistent for the new legislation to be approved by the new Duma. I think this is something to work on for the next [Duma]."

The State Duma elections take place in December, but analysts say legislation work is likely to be paralyzed until after the presidential election in March.

The Natural Resources Ministry had earlier proposed to limit foreign access to fields with reserves of more than 70 million tons of oil and 50 billion cubic meters of gas. Trutnev said he was confident those limits would remain unchanged in the new legislation.