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Kara Sea partnership taking shape

President-elect Vladimir Putin monitors the signing of historical Arctic agreements between Rosneft and ExxonMobil. Photo: government.ru

Rosneft and ExxonMobil are setting up a joint venture for their grand projects in the Kara Sea.

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The two companies on Monday signed a number of agreements, among them on the establishment of an operating company for three major projects in the Kara Sea and on the “principles of operations” for the new joint venture, a press release informs.

The agreements were blessed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who in a meeting with ExxonMobil President Rex Tillerson highlighted the historical character of the deals, a transcript from the government reads.

The agreements follow up the strategical partnership announced by the companies on 30 August 2011. A cornerstone in the partnership is the three licenses included in the Vostochno-Prinovozemelskie structure, as well as the Yuzhno-Russkoe field. The fields together have reserves estimated to more than five billion tons of oil and eight trillion cubic meters of gas.

Both Rosneft leader Eduard Khudaynatov and Exxon’s Rex Tillerson in the meeting with the Premier underlined that the tax breaks for offshore projects now announced by the government is of key importance for the partnership.

Rosneft will in 2012 start the collection of seismic data from the Kara Sea and intends to engage in exploration drilling in the area starting from 2014. The company has preparations for its seismic summer in the area and in January and February held public hearings in several northern Russian towns, among them Arkhanglsk and Salekhard, as well as the villages of Iskateley (Nenets AO) and Yar-Sale (Yamal-Nenets AO), Oilru.com reports.