Rosneft moves into Gazprom territory

Rosneft President Igor Sechin commissions his his deputy Eduard Khudainatov to lead the company's gas activities. Photo:

The all-powerful Russian oil company is ready to get big on Arctic offshore gas and may engage gas company Itera as its shelf operating unit.


Not only is Rosneft about to break the lucrative gas export monopoly of Gazprom. The company is also openly challenging Gazprom’s license rights to several fields in Arctic waters. According to news reports, Rosneft is pushing on Russia’s mineral agency, the Rosnedra, to get license rights to seven Arctic fields previously thought to hold mainly gas reserves. The fields are among the 17 fields, which Gazprom is applying for, RBC Daily reports.

At the same time, Rosneft consolidates its relationship with Itera, the gas producing company. In a recent announcement, the two companies inform that Eduard Khudainatov, the former Rosneft president and now company Deputy President,  will lead the new joint venture established by the companies.

With the annoucement, Khudainatov becomes Rosneft’s leading gas-man, responsible not only for relations with Itera, but also for the development of the company’s huge gas resources on the Russian Arctic shelf. As previously reported by BarentsObserver, Rosneft believes it has offshore gas reserves of 21 trillion cubic meters. And the company is eager to engage in production, as well as exports.

According to newspaper Kommersant, Khudainatov will also be the person top responsible for following up relations with Rosneft’s foreign partners in Russian Arctic waters, among them ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil.

Rosneft and Itera in late November 2012 announced their establishment of the joint venture, to be controlled on the basis of a 51-49 percent relationship. In addition to leading the new joint venture, Eduard Khudainatov also becomes Deputy Board leader of Itera. 

The alliance with Itera comes as Rosneft’s relations with gas monopoly Gazprom get increasinly sour. Rosneft is openly irritated with Gazprom’s engagement within Arctic oil and wants to put a stop to the company’s oil expansion through its subsidiary Gazprom Neft. By getting control over Itera, Rosneft might ultimately end up mirroring Gazprom’s oil strategy. Through its joint venture with Itera, it can challenge Gazprom’s gas monopoly on the shelf.