Russia:Access to subsoil becomes easier for investors

The Government has allowed Russian investors to conduct geological exploration and production at areas of federal importance till the completion of prospecting. Previously, companies had to wait for five years until prospecting licenses would expire, and ask for permission to develop from the Government. Market participants support the changes, hoping to benefit from projects earlier. The access to strategic areas for foreign investors is limited for a while, but the Ministry of Natural Resources plans to simplify it too.

On October 28, the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree (published on Tuesday), according to which Russian companies are entitled to conduct geological exploration and production at areas of federal subsoil before the completion of geological study. According to the explanatory note, the decision removes the contradictions between regulations, which defined this order in different ways: the regulation, approved by the Government in September 2008 and Article 6 of the Federal Law "On Subsoil". The decree also introduces a mechanism for attributing subsoil users to Russian or foreign ones through submission of documents to Rosnedra and the FAS. Now companies, controlled by foreigners, can obtain access to strategic fields with the permission of the Government.

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