MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry on Monday identified 31 “strategic” gas fields across the country that will be developed for Russia’s energy security.
Strategic deposits, deemed necessary for Russia to survive independently, are off-limits for development by foreign firms.
“To ensure energy security in the Russian Federation, we have included these deposits on a list of federal significance which are strategic,” Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said in a statement on the government’s Web site, www.government.ru.
The government identified and added to its list deposits in five regions, including Yamal in northwest Siberia and on the shelf of the Kara Sea to the north of Yamal.
Yamal holds potential gas reserves of 50 trillion cubic metres, the largest in Russia, and is already being developed by Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM).
The stormy Barents Sea, where the giant $20 billion Shtokman gas deposit is being developed, is also on the list, along with the Pacific Ocean and Yakutia in the Russian Far East.
Yakutia hosts most of the deposits on the list, including the Chayandinskoye field, which Gazprom has previously asked the government to give it out-of-competition rights to develop.
The size of the deposits was not given.
In the summer, Gazprom asked ExxonMobil (XOM.N) to give up the idea of exporting 8 billion cubic metres a year to China from its Sakhalin-1 project on Russia’s far eastern island of the same name, as it would leave the domestic market short. (Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; editing by James Jukwey)