Russia: Putin grants permission to Rosneft to begin drilling in eastern Arctic

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Russian President Vladimir Putin granted permission to petroleum company Rosneft to begin exploratory drilling off the Poluostrov Khara-Tumus peninsula, under the waters of the Laptev Sea, speaking via a video link from St. Petersburg on Monday.

Igor Sechin, Executive Chairman of Rosneft (Russian): "Behind my back, through a snowstorm, you can see a drilling tower. And today, upon your command, the company starts drilling the first exploratory well in the eastern Arctic."

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia (Russian): "Only majority state-owned companies are allowed to carry out work of this nature. Only Rosneft and Gazprom have licenses. Rosneft should certainly take advantage of it in the best way."

Vladimir Putin, Russian President (Russian): "I know that our oil companies in general, and Rosneft in particular, pay special attention to environmental safety. [This is the case especially in the Arctic because the eco-system there is particularly sensitive to external interference. All these principles [and] rules will be met. You will pay close attention to it."

Igor Sechin, Executive Chairman of Rosneft (Russian): "According to preliminary data, the geological potential of the Laptev Sea amounts to 9.5 billion tonnes of oil equivalent."

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