BP and Rosneft have agreed on a strategic global alliance under which both companies will explore and develop three licence blocks, EPNZ 1, 2 and 3, on the Russian Arctic continental shelf.

The licences, awarded to Rosneft in 2010, cover about 125,000 million square metres in a highly prospective area of the South Kara Sea.

Following completion of the agreement, Rosneft will hold 5% of BP’s ordinary voting shares in exchange for 9.5% of Rosneft shares.

BP and Rosneft will also establish an Arctic technology centre in Russia that will work with Russian and international research institutes, design bureaus and universities to develop technologies and engineering practices for the safe extraction of hydrocarbon resources from the Arctic shelf.

The technology centre will benefit from BP’s offshore experience and will focus on safety, environmental integrity and emergency spill response capability.

Rosneft and BP will continue their joint technical studies in the Russian Arctic to assess hydrocarbon prospectivity in areas beyond the Kara Sea.

The firms will also seek additional opportunities for international collaboration beyond their 50 / 50 joint venture partnership in Ruhr Oel, a refining joint venture in Germany.