Rosneft and ExxonMobil: from Alaska to the Arctic

Author: us-russia
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Rosneft and ExxonMobil: from Alaska to the Arctic
Published 15-02-2013, 05:31

The head of Rosneft Igor Sechin and the president of American ExxonMobil Stephen Greenlee have signed an agreement on joint exploration of new sectors of the Russian Arctic shelf. Within this agreement Rosneft could receive a share in one of the largest liquid gas fields in Alaska.

Experts point out that this is a logical development in cooperation between the two companies. The contract on strategic cooperation between them was signed in 2011. According to the new agreement, Americans get access to seven sectors with a total area of 600,000sq.km in the Chukchi Sea, the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea. Experts consider these sectors to be potentially very productive but poorly explored. Large resources and technologies are required for their exploration and Russia does not have them so far. On the other hand, they are available at ExxonMobil, which makes it a good partner. The head of the Department of Analytical Research of the Univer Kapital investment group Dmitry Alexandrov is speaking:

"The main task for Rosneft is to find a partner experienced in similar projects. It is important for Rosneft to have both a financial and technological partner for developing its own resources. For ExxonMobil this means access to very rich resources. There is no doubt that they are rich, what remains to determine is the cost of their exploration.”

At the same time, the Russian company is to get access to one of the largest fields in Alaska. The latest agreement gives it the right to acquire 25% in the Point Thomson project (ExxonMobil is its operator). Up to one fourth of the proved gas resources of the Alaska North Slope falls in this project. In addition, Igor Sechin said, participation in the Point Thomson project would allow Rosneft to receive the latest technologies of developing liquid gas fields in hard climatic conditions.

Analysts do not rule out that the two companies would not restrict themselves to exploring the resources but would also commercialise them. Rosneft and ExxonMobil intend to jointly estimate the opportunities for implementing the project of manufacturing liquefied natural gas in the Russian Far East. This subject has been discussed for a long time but with very little progress, experts say. Assistant General Director of the Institute of the Energy Strategy Alexei Gromov is speaking:

"It is evident to everyone that this project must be implemented, first of all for the sake of diversifying Russian exports. However, speaking frankly, the economic feasibility of this project is still being considered. For this reason, participation of international companies, such as ExxonMobil, is very important to us.”

Time is very valuable now, experts say, because the energy world is changing very fast. Technologies that were recently regarded as too expensive and economically ineffective are becoming more accessible, considering the cost of energy resources. One of the examples is the shale gas revolution. For this reason, it is essential to rapidly arrive at new markets and secure a footing there, otherwise those markets would find other suppliers.

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