Rosneft, Gazprom Boost Combined Offshore Investment To $1.4B
Russia's top oil producer Rosneft and gas giant Gazprom plan to invest a combined $1.42 billion (80.8 billion rubles) in offshore exploration in 2017, Russia's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi told TASS news agency in an interview published on Monday.

Rosneft is earmarking $755 million (43 billion rubles) for offshore exploration this year, nearly four times the $193 million (11 billion rubles) investment in offshore works last year, Donskoi said.

Gazprom, for its part, plans investments of $664 million (37.8 billion rubles) to explore offshore blocks in 2017, compared to $541 million (30.8 billion rubles) spent in 2016, the minister told TASS.

"The working licenses of companies stipulate that the current level of seismic and drilling operations will be maintained, which virtually implies that investments will be retained and even boosted. In other words, we expect growth of investments in 2017," TASS quoted Donskoi as saying.

As at the end of last month, Russia had a total of 138 offshore licenses for oil and gas issued, with Rosneft holding 53 of those and Gazprom another 41. Lukoil and Novatek came in far behind holding 14 and 7 licenses, respectively.

According to Donskoi, Russia's oil majors invested $1.254 billion (71.4 billion rubles) in offshore exploration last year, down by $53 million (3 billion rubles) from the previous year.Rosneft's total capital expenditures increased by 19.2 percent annually last year, due to onshore field investments, the company said last month.

Gazprom, on the other hand, said in December that it expected total investment this year at $16 billion (910.67 billion rubles), compared to $14.8 billion (842 billion rubles) it had planned at the end of 2015 for 2016.

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