Russian oil major Rosneft signs 12 deals with foreign partners

The St Petersburg International Economic Forum saw Russian oil giant Rosneft sign 12 agreements, Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

The company signed an oil and oil product supply deal with PDVSA of Venezuela, and additionally a $1.3 billion oil product supply deal with Mongolia's NIC and an oil supply agreement with Petrovietnam.

The Russian oil company also signed an agreement for setting up a joint venture with Azerbaijan's SOCAR which would operate in both countries.

Rosneft will undertake joint operations with the Union CubaPetroleo in Cuba, collaborate with India's ONGC Videsh in development of the Russian shelf and cooperate in the development of Domanic deposits in the Orenburg Region.

The Russian company would cooperate with SeaDril of Norway and North Atlantic Drilling and acquire a stake in the latter. The company has also agreed to extend partnership with Pirelli of Italy.

Meanwhile, Russia in a strategic drive would  unlock its shale oil wealth with the stagnation setting in crude output and reserves run low in the West Siberian fields, as it seeks to follow the path of the US, in a policy reverse, The Telegraph reported.

The Kremlin had launched an "action plan" aimed at mastering fracking methods and luring investors into the Bazhenov prospective, a shale basin the size of France to the east of the Urals.

Officials are waking up to the promise of shale and are no longer dismissing it as a mirage. Kirill Molodtsov, the deputy energy minister said the ministry was clearing away the administrative barriers to exploration.

According to the estimates of the US energy department Russia had 75 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil resources, the world's largest deposits. The Bazhenov field was 80 times bigger than the US Bakken field in North Dakota, which alone produced 1 million barrels a day.

Meanwhile BP signed a deal Saturday to explore for shale in Volga Urals with Rosneft, even though Rosneft's chairman Igor Sechin was on the US sanctions list, as it moved to get a piece of the action.

BP's chief executive, Bob Dudley, said he saw BP investing in other projects, adding the company was very pleased to be a part of Russian energy complex, according to The Telegraph newspaper.

He said he had been urged by president Vladimir Putin to start fracking in Russia.