Gas company Novatek, whose board of directors includes Gennady Timchenko, a longtime acquaintance of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was the only company to successfully submit an application to bid in tenders on four oil and gas properties in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.
"The tender commission found that only Novatek's application met the requirements," Anatoly Ledovskikh, head of the Federal Subsoil Resource Use Agency, said Tuesday, Interfax reported.
The Yamal fields are intended for developing production of liquefied natural gas, or LNG.
The tenders are being held for the Salmanovskoye, Geofizicheskoye, Severo-Obsk and Vostochno-Tambeiskoye fields. Bids were accepted until April 15.
Itera and the Yakutsk Fuel and Energy Company were reported to be bidding for the Geofizicheskoye section, but according to Ledovskikh, only Novatek fulfilled the requirements to participate in the tender.
Ledovskikh noted that if only one bid were made a tender would be deemed invalid, but a license could still go to a single bidder if its technical and economic proposals for development of the field satisfied the tender commission.
The tender is scheduled for June 23, with all bids to be submitted to the agency no later than May 20.
The starting price for the first and largest of the sections is 4.83 billion rubles ($180 million). The four sites are located in the region of the Bay of Obsk in the Kara Sea and are of federal significance.
Vedomosti reported that industry analysts expected Novatek to be the single participant and note the similarity between this tender — in terms of there being only one approved bidder — and the Trebs and Titov oil field tender of last December, in which Bashneft was eventually the only participant and winner.