Rosneft, Statoil agree on joint Arctic exploratio

Russia's state-owned oil major Rosneft and Norway's Statoil have agreed to join forces to develop Russian offshore oil and gas fields in the Barents Sea in the Arctic and the Sea of Okhotsk in the country's far-east.

The multi-billion dollar tie-up is the third in a series of similar agreements which the technology-starved Russian oil company has put into effect with western oil companies in the past one month to tap the abundant hydrocarbon resources in the challenging Arctic environment.

Rosneft's recently concluded deals include the exploration ventures with global giant Exxon Mobil Corporation (See: Rosneft, ExxonMobil formalise joint venture) and Italy's Eni SpA (See: Rosneft and Eni team up for Arctic, Black Sea exploration) 
The new partnership, like the previous two, was also signed in the presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin who will take his office in Kremlin later in the day today for a third-term after a break as prime minister during the last four years.

Under the terms, which are similar to the ones with ExxonMobil and Eni, Rosneft and Statoil envisage setting up of a joint venture to explore the Perseevsky block in the Barents Sea and three blocks in the Sea of Okhotsk namely Magadan 1, Lisyansky and Kashevarovlsky.

In return for gaining access to the prolific resources, Statoil will invest in developing the projects and share latest technology with Rosneft. Statoil will hold one-third stake in the project.

Under the provisos, Statoil will fully finance geological exploration work at these blocks which is estimated at around $2.5 billion. In addition, it will reimburse historical expenses incurred by Rosneft and also pay bonuses to Rosneft for each commercial discovery.