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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trutnev Says Energy Laws May Be Relaxed

SOCHI — Russia will discuss relaxing laws regulating foreign participation in offshore energy projects to attract investment from abroad, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev said Saturday.

Encouraged by a surge in oil prices from 2002 to a peak in July 2008, Russia passed laws curbing foreign participation in tapping its mineral resources, but prices have since plummeted.

“We will look into this issue [laws regarding foreign investment] first of all in relation to offshore exploration. We believe that state regulation creates many obstacles for exploration,” Trutnev said.

The minister also blamed state-controlled energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom, which are the only two firms carrying out offshore exploration in Russia at the moment, for underinvestment.

“Even in precrisis 2008, financing volumes were such that the target period for fields’ development was estimated at 180 years,” Trutnev said. “With such a time horizon it is impossible to plan.”

Trutnev said Russia will look at Norway’s experience in attracting foreign investment in offshore exploration, saying the government and not state-controlled firms should have a say in who gets access to Russia’s resources.