Moscow: Russia’s natural resources minister Yuri Trutnev on Tuesday said India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) was the only foreign oil company to place a bid for Russia’s giant Trebs and Titov oil deposits in the Arctic.

“The deposits are classified as strategic, and so it is up to a government commission to decide whether (ONGC) can participate alone, but I doubt that will be the case. I would be surprised," Trutnev said.

On Monday, ONGC’s Russian subsidiary Nord Imperial submitted its bid application for the fields to Rosnedra, the government agency responsible for subsoil licences.

Trutnev added that oil firms Lukoil, TNK-BP, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz, and Bashneft also placed bids.

The Trebs and Titov deposits, holding an estimated 200 million tonnes of reserves, will be sold at an auction on 2 December.

Rosneft Oil Co., Russia’s largest oil producer, didn’t bid, but the firm’s new president Eduard Khudaynatov said it will consider joining the project if a potential partner wins.

“We have proposals from partners if they win the tender," Khudaynatov said following meetings in China with state officials and China National Petroleum Corp.

Khudaynatov did not say which of the six bidders was a potential partner, but previous reports have named ONGC.

In March, Russia said it may allow ONGC to enter the running for development rights of the fields as the country was looking to double trade with India to $20 billion (Rs 91,400 crore) by 2015.