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Russia to provide tax breaks for Arctic exploration

Alaska Dispatch

Russia has agreed to waive all export taxes for new Arctic shelf exploration projects to encourage investment, Russia Today reports.

Russia's Deputy Minister of Finance Sergey Shatalov said the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Energy settled their differences in the new legislation, which will provide tax breaks for five to 15 years.

Russia's Arctic shelf is believed to contain around a 100 billion tons in natural resources, including 13 billion tons of oil.

Experts expect that many of Russia's oil fields, discovered in the Soviet era, will run dry in the coming decades, causing the country’s oil output to drop substantially. By opening the Russian Arctic to other projects, via a tax break, the country will increase its chances of boosting resource development.

Prior to the new tax break, only companies with more than five years' experience could take part in shelf exploration. The country's majors, Gazprom and Rosneft, were the only companies that fit the criterion. But with the tax break now available, several major agreements between Rosneft and international oil giants including US-based ExxonMobil, Italy’s ENI and Norway’s Statoil are possible.

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