In the forthcoming period, however, one may expect a certain improvement of the situation in this area. Thus, in particular it is intended to introduce deadline practices with respect to conclusion of agreements. If the agreement has not been concluded over a pre-set period of time, the deposit would be subject to withdrawal from the list of deposits whose development is allowed under PSA conditions. That would ensure the availability of new, more attractive deposits in the said list. In addition, it is intended to complement the current three-stage production sharing system with a simpler two-stage one, which is also used worldwide. It is also intended to pass a special Chapter of the Tax Code that should deal with regulation of taxation of investors in the course of carrying out PSA.
One of the crucial challenges with regard to prospects of PSA=s’ development in Russia is the problem of a quantitative restriction of employment of the PSA regime. At present the law reads that no more than 30% of the prospected stock of minerals may be developed under the terms of production sharing. According to the data of the RF Ministry for Natural Resources, on the whole throughout the country it is intended to provide 38 objects for concluding PSA=s on them, including 27 oil deposits, 2- of natural gas, 5 -gold, 2- iron ore, 1- oil shales, and 1-tin. The proportions of the prospected stock of main kinds of minerals comprised by the objects that were included in the lists of deposits designated for their development under PSA terms or arranged for such an inclusion, as per the current law, are as follows: oil- 26.5%, natural gas- 11.2%, gold- 13.4%, iron ore- 9.5%, tin- 6.2%, and oil shales- 22.1%.
Hence, in the oil sector (which is the most attractive for the domestic and foreign investors) the level of the use of the set quota should reach its ultimate value in a not-so-distant future. That sharply reactivated the efforts of proponents of a prompt expansion of the PSA regime’s sphere in terms of cancellation of the earlier set quantitative restrictions. However one cannot help but take into account certain defects of the PSA system that are related primarily to the individualization of conditions and terms of agreements on concrete projects. Lacking the necessary experience and corrupt civil servants may help the investor to get excessively beneficial terms for the project implementation and, consequently, the government loosing a certain part of revenues from the development of the national natural resources.
It is also principly important that the respective agreements have not been concluded as yet on the overwhelming majority of the objects included in the legislatively approved lists or arranged for such an inclusion. That is why at its special meeting on PSA held in August 2000 the RF Government took a decision to keep the stock quotas on PSA unchanged. One should envisage that in the forthcoming future the government would focus its attention on improving the state regulation system and completion of the ongoing preparatory work on the deposits already allocated for the PSA-based development. Nonetheless, some raise in the given quotas may become possible in the future.
It is the formation of a broad spectrum of normative acts ensuring the existence of conditions for investment activity and guarantees of stability of investors’ rights that appear a crucial factor determining the steady functioning of the investment sphere.
In the meantime the government practically has completed a package of bills aimed at reducing administrative barriers. If passed, it should help improve the investment climate in the country.
1 According to the annual survey of AT Kearney of heads of 1,000 largest international companies published in FT
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