Russian state-run oil major Rosneft is to sign a contract with Norway's Statoil energy firm to jointly develop offshore hydrocarbon deposits in Russia's Arctic, Kommersant business daily reported on Saturday quoting government sources.
Statoil is expected to get a 33.4 percent share in the joint venture, the paper says. The Norwegian oil giant will finance all geological prospecting in the Barents Sea in Russia's north and in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East with recoverable reserves estimated at 280 million tons of oil and over 700 billion cubic meters of gas.
The deal would be the third major tie-up for Rosneft with foreign companies to exploit the Russian continental shelf, following agreements with U.S. ExxonMobil and Italy's Eni in April.
Under existing rules, only Russian companies with over 50 percent state ownership and no less than five years experience working in marine exploration are allowed to develop the Russian continental shelf. Only Rosneft and gas giant Gazprom currently meet these requirements.
The Russian government decided in early April not to levy export duties on new hydrocarbon development projects on the Russian shelf. Other duties and taxes will also be low or fixed for 15 years from the production start date.
The Russian government's decisions to ease taxation on hydrocarbon production on the Russian shelf have aroused considerable interest in many companies, Rosneft President Eduard Khudainatov said in late April.
Currently Statoil is only involved one project in Russia, a 24 percent stake in the Shtokman gas project. The Shtokman field is located 600 kilometers northeast of Murmansk in waters up to 340 meters deep. C1 resources in the license territory amounts to 3.8 trillion cubic meters of gas and 53.4 million tons of condensate.