"Rosgeology" smelled the taste for money

The company asks to allocate another 15 billion rubles from the budget.
State holding Rosgeologiya asks to increase budgetary financing for the reproduction of the mineral resources base (VMSB) by 15 billion rubles. in year. Until 2020, the company is the sole executor of this program, receiving state contracts without a tender, and claims to extend this status. The Ministry of Natural Resources supports the idea of ​​"Rosgeology", but it still requires justification. At the same time, earlier subsoil users expressed dissatisfaction with the work of the state holding.

"Rosgeology" asked to increase at least 50% of the volume of the sub-program of the government's program for the reproduction and use of natural resources, up to 45 billion rubles. per year, follows from the presentation of the head of the company Roman Panov (there is a "b") to the board of Rosnedra, held on March 28. The sub-program is designed to 2020, a year on it from the budget is allocated 28.6-29.9 billion rubles. Until now, Rosgeologiya is its only performer, without competition receiving Rosnedra contracts for exploration (geological exploration). Thus, the state-owned company wants to increase funding for the next five years of the program, apparently re-claiming exclusive status.

In the "Rosgeology" refused to comment. The source of Kommersant, who is familiar with the proposals of the state company, specified that the discussion of the issue at the initial stage. "We have been a performer for two years, and the principle of such consistency from the point of view of studying the resource base, from the standpoint of implementing contracts (all of which are three years old) objectively requires the necessary level of continuity," Roman Panov explained to Kommersant in 2017.

The Ministry of Natural Resources told Kommersant that they support the increase in funds allocated for exploration and are going to prepare a justification for increasing the funding. The Ministry of Finance did not provide a position. One of the interlocutors of Kommersant in the government apparatus believes that the allocation of new funds is inexpedient, since Rosgeologia is also under-utilizing current funding. As of January 1, 2017, Rosnedra had balances of 2.3 billion rubles, and as of January 1, 2018, it was 3.7 billion rubles, the Accounts Chamber reported in March, 94.5% of them being "untimely execution "Rosgeology" of works provided by contracts ".

Revenues of Rosgeology in 2017 increased by more than 10%, to 34 billion rubles., EBITDA - 5.1 billion rubles. (net profit is not disclosed). The company estimates the share in the exploration market at 15%.

In the absence of large unexplored sites in the undistributed fund and the reduction in the financing of geological exploration, the state subsoil users are investing in it more and more. Investments of oil and gas companies in geological exploration increased by almost 21% in 2017, to 314 billion rubles. This year, no cuts are expected, the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoi noted in February. But, he said, the increase in explored oil reserves for this period amounted to 550 million tons, but this volume is more than 4% lower than in 2016.

In order to stimulate geological exploration, the Ministry of Natural Resources introduced the declarative principle that subsoil users can obtain poorly studied areas, including flanks of their deposits. In 2017, Rosneft tried to use this option, and, as Kommersant reported on December 25, asked the government to issue a license to the flank of the South-Erginsky section. The Ministry of Natural Resources did not object, but the fate of the license is unknown. The threat of monopolization of the geological exploration "Rosgeologiya", including on the shelf, in 2015 caused concern to the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin, but recently the companies did not seem to conflict outwardly. But, as Kommersant reported on February 7, the work of Rosgeologiya was dissatisfied with subsoil users of solid minerals: large mining miners, including Norilsk Nickel and ALROSA, offered to allow regional exploration without a license, Rosgeologia is currently conducting such work.

It is important for the Russian authorities to increase investment in geological exploration, as private oil and gas companies have seriously reduced their investments due to lower oil prices, PwC Strategy partner Jörg Dorler said. At the same time, most of the current stock is not investment attractive at current prices for raw materials, the expert believes, and a decrease in explored reserves will lead to a decrease in production in the long term and a reduction in the revenue side of the budget. The growth of state investments in geological exploration is also observed in other countries, such as Norway, he notes.