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Rosneft hinting Norwegian partner

Rosneft in the Arctic

Russia’s largest oil-company is looking for partners in the former disputed area of the Barents Sea.

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- Working with companies that have information on this area makes sense. Norway has already been engaged in geological exploration of its (earlier) disputed areas, says Rosneft’s CEO Eduard Khudainatov quoted by RosBuisnessConsulting.

State own Rosneft has no former experience in Arctic offshore drilling, but signed an agreement with US ExxonMobile in August for joint development the company’s fields in the Kara Sea. The two companies will start seismic mapping of their joint blocks in the Kara Sea in 2013.

Rosneft is particularly looking for three areas in the earlier disputed part of the Barents Sea and has filed applications to Russia’s Federal Subsoil Resource Management Agency.

Last week, BarentsObserver reported that Rosneft has got three bids for field licenses further east in the Barents Sea turned down because of objections from the Ministry of Defence.

Russia reached a maritime border line agreement for the Barents Sea with Norway in 2010. Just a few minutes after the agreement went into force in July this year, the first Norwegian seismic vessels started geological research in the area. 11.500 line-kilometers of seismic shooting were conducted from July to mid-September this year, as previously reported by BarentsObserver.  The seismic research in the Norwegian part of the area will continue next summer.

The Barents border line treaty contains provisions on how Norway and Russia are to cooperate on exploiting any transboundary petroleum deposits that could be discovered in the Barents Sea. This paragraph in the maritime border treaty actually paves way for a tighter cooperation between national oil-companies from the two countries to jointly explore this new part of the Barents Sea.

Rosneft is state-own and Norwegian oil major Statoil is partly state-own.  For Rosneft, flirting with Statoil makes good sense. The Norwegian company already has Barents Sea experience at its Snøhvit natural gas project outside Hammerfest and Statoil is already a partner with Gazprom in the Shtokman Development AG.

According to Voice of Russia, today at least 15 fields in the Barents, Pechora and Kara Seas have been discovered and are being prepared for exploitation which has led to a new phase of Arctic cooperation by Russia with foreign partners.

In addition to the fields in the Kara Sea, Rosneft has one license for drilling in the Pechora Sea. The South Russky bloack is estimated to hold 21.5 billion tons of oil equivalent, the company informs at their portal.