MOSCOW, April 16 (UPI) -- Russia expects to attract roughly $500 billion in direct investments in the oil and natural gas reserves on its continental shelf, the prime minister said.
"We must create qualitatively new working conditions on the Russian continental shelf that will make our shelf projects globally competitive for attracting both foreign investment and foreign technology, which is extremely important," President-elect and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told lawmakers.
By Putin's estimate, at least 70 percent of the national oil and natural gas reserves are in the Russian continental shelf.
Russia ranks among world leaders in terms of oil and natural gas reserves. Putin said deposits on the continental shelf, primarily in the arctic regions, are strategic interests that must be exploited responsibly and efficiently.
"We have therefore decided to fully cancel export duties for the new shelf projects," he said. "For the most complicated arctic projects, the tax on the mining of mineral resources should not exceed 5 percent of the price of the sold produce."
Putin said shelf exploration was about creating a new high-tech industry that could attract as much as $500 billion in direct investments during the next 30 years.