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Putin offers tax breaks for oil, gas companies drilling in Arctic

Vladimir Putin has vowed to raise $500 billion in investment for Russian offshore oil and gas field development, using foreign expertise to help tap the country's full energy potential.

Vladimir Putin oil gas 2012 4 13Enlarge
Russia's Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin (C) speaks in the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg, on April 10, 2012. (YANA LAPIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin has vowed to raise $500 billion in investment for Russian offshore oil and gas field development, using foreign expertise to help tap the country's full energy potential, Agence France-Presse reported.

As part of the drive to attract foreign energy giants to Russia's resources in the Arctic, the Russian government will cancel an export tax for all the new projects on the Arctic shelf, the country's President-Elect said Thursday.

"We should create not only predictable, comfortable and attractive conditions (for the projects), but they should be better than those of our competitors," he said, Dow Jones reported.

The extraction tax on the new fields may also be tapped at 5 percent of sales, he added.

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Putin said he expects the new incentives to draw more foreign energy companies to join Russian ones in the region.

According to Reuters, Russia — the world's top crude producer — needs to arrest the decline in overall output — largely owing to depleted fields in Siberia — by tapping new deposits in the Arctic and East Siberia.

Moscow hopes to produce at least 10 million barrels of oil per day until 2020. 

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The new proposals also appeared aimed at sweetening deals on current projects, including the giant Shtokman gas project and the pairing up of ExxonMobil and Rosneft to develop three blocks in the Kara Sea north of Russia. 

"The move should give a positive momentum for such projects as Shtokman," the news service quoted Valery Nesterov from Troika Dialog brokerage as saying. 

Meanwhile, Putin also said Thursday that Russia would spend about $1 billion this year to build a new space launch pad in the far east, Sky News reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120412/putin-offers-tax-breaks-oil-gas-companies-drilling-arctic