Three Russian companies have filed applications to bid for an exploration and development licence for the shallow-water South Obsky block in Ob Bay, near West Siberia's Yamal Peninsula, writes Vladimir Afanasiev.

Gazprom Neft, the oil producing subsidiary of the gas giant, another affiliate Gazprom Neft Shelf, and Moscow-based privately held Energia (owned by former energy minister Igor Yusufov) communicated their interest in the licence by the deadline of 26 October.

Russia's Mineral Resources & Environment Ministry will now check that their applications comply with its requirements, with actual bidding to be held before 28 November.