Former rivals join efforts on shelf
Facing increasing competition on the shelf, the two monopoly companies Rosneft and Gazprom strike a comprehensive cooperation agreement on offshore oil and gas.
The agreement, which was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during this week’s Sochi International Investment Forum, commits the two state-controlled companies to join efforts in offshore exploration and resource exploitation, as well as in the development and use of Arctic offshore infrastructure,
The agreement states that “the two companies will strengthen cooperation to identify the most efficient methods and solutions to drive exploration of Russia’s continental shelf and resource development and replacement by combining technical and financial capacities”. The parties will also “implement a long-term business strategy encompassing industrial, infrastructure and socio-economic development founded in the creation of high-tech production facilities for the study, exploration and production of hydrocarbons, the exploration of offshore fields and the creation of transport and energy infrastructure, a press release from Rosneft reads.
Also joint use of coastal installations and joint action in emergency situations are part of the deal, Gazprom informs.
In addition, the two companies have jointly prepared a 500 billion RUB investment programme for shelf developments for the period up to 2015, RBC.ru reports.
With the new agreement, the two companies, which over the years have been major rivals and representatives of conflicting political interests, open a new chapter of cooperation. The signing of the agreement comes only few weeks after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced major changes in Russian legislation on offshore oil and gas production. The new law, which is to be presented to the State Duma in the course of fall, is expected to open the Russian shelf for more companies and improve tax conditions.
Rosneft and Gazprom today both enjoy a monopoly position on the shelf. Over the last years, the companies have been granted licenses to Arctic offshore fields with huge resource potentials. While Rosneft is teaming up with foreign oil majors ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil in the Kara Sea and Barents Sea, Gazprom's long-time flagship project, the Shtokman field, is in limbo.