U.S. expansion in Russian Arctic

With its partnership with Rosneft, ExxonMobil is getting a key role in the development of Russian Arctic resources. Illustration: BarentsObserver

ExxonMobil will help Rosneft explore another seven of the most prospective hydrocarbon structures in the Russian Arctic.


The U.S. company will be responsible for the mapping and exploration of seven more fields in the Kara Sea, Chukchi Sea and Laptev Sea, a press release from Rosneft informs. The new fields, which cover as much as 600,000 square kilometers of waters, will be included in a joint venture between the two companies.

As previously reported, Rosneft and ExxonMobil in late August 2011 signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement in the Russian Arctic, which amongst other includes the development of the three East Prinovozemelsky license blocks in the Kara Sea, an area covering 126,000 square kilometers. A joint venture was established to follow up the projects.

The two companies now have a total of about 720,000 square km of waters in their joint Arctic field portefolio. According to Rosneft, the licenses include the most promising, and at the same time, the least explored, areas on the Russian continental shelf.

The additional agreement with ExxonMobil comes as Rosneft gets the green light from the government for the acquisition of another 12 Arctic licenses. At the same time, the company has committed itself to step up exploration of its Arctic fields. According to the agreements, it will be ExxonMobil, which is responsible for all issues related to seismic mapping and exploration at the blocks.

With the aborption of the TNK-BP and the many new Arctic fields, Rosneft is increasingly overstretched and in major need of assistance from foreign partners. In the Arctic, the company has concluded agreements also with Eni and Statoil.

“With the signing of these unprecedented agreements, the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is entering a new level”, Rosneft President Igor Sechin said at Wednesday’s signing ceremony in Moscow. From before, the two companies have fifteen years of cooperation at the Sakhalin-1 project.