Chukhci sea

Russian oil major Rosneft and US-based multinational oil and gas company ExxonMobil have signed an agreement to expand their joint venture by adding new blocks to develop oil and gas resources on Russia’s Arctic shelf.

The deal, signed as part of the 2011 Strategic Cooperation Agreement, will include an additional 600,000km² (150 million acres) of exploration acreage in the Arctic shelf.

As part of the deal, both companies will jointly explore seven additional blocks in three different seas within the Russian continental shelf.

The license blocks will comprise of Severo-Vrangelevsky-1, Severo-Vrangelevsky-2 and Yuzhno-Chukotsky blocks, in the Chukchi Sea, Ust’ Oleneksky, Ust’ Lensky and Anisinsko Novosibirsky blocks in the Laptev Sea and the Severo Karsky block in the Kara Sea.

Rosneft president Igor Sechin and ExxonMobil Exploration Company president Stephen Greenlee have signed on the agreement in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Both companies will jointly explore seven additional blocks in three different seas within the Russian continental shelf."

Under the deal, the two companies will deploy global best practices and advanced safety and environmental protection systems during Arctic operations. The exploration activities will be supported by the Declaration on the Russian Arctic Shelf Environmental protection.

In addition, ExxonMobil and Rosneft will collaborate through an Arctic Research Center to provide a complete range of research and design services to support their cooperation on Arctic projects.

Rosneft president Igor Sechin said the acreage in the Russian Arctic, which is subject to geological exploration and subsequent development, has increased around six-fold.

"That means the enormous resource potential of Russian Arctic offshore fields will be explored and developed in the most efficient manner, with the application of cutting-edge technologies and expertise of our strategic partner, ExxonMobil, and using state-of-the-art environmental protection systems," Sechin added.

"Participation in the Point Thomson project will increase Rosneft’s access to the latest gas and condensate field development technologies used in harsh climatic conditions."

ExxonMobil Exploration Company president Stephen Greenlee said: "This expansion is an illustration of the strength of the partnership that exists between ExxonMobil and Rosneft."

Image: Map showing the location of the Chukchi Sea. Photo courtesy of Mohonu.