Russian oil major Rosneft and US multinational oil and gas company ExxonMobil have signed an agreement to expand their joint venture by adding seven additional blocks to develop oil and gas resources on Russia's Arctic shelf.
The deal singed under the 2011 Strategic Cooperation Agreement, will include an additional 600,000km² (150 million acres) of exploration acreage in the Russian Arctic.
As part of the deal, both the companies will jointly explore seven new blocks in the Chukchi Sea, Laptev Sea, and Kara Sea.
The license blocks will comprise Severo-Vrangelevsky-1, Severo-Vrangelevsky-2 and Yuzhno-Chukotsky blocks in Chukchi Sea, Ust’ Oleneksky, Ust’ Lensky and Anisinsko Novosibirsky blocks in Laptev Sea and Severo Karsky block in Kara Sea.
The agreement was signed between Rosneft president Igor Sechin and ExxonMobil Exploration Company president Stephen Greenlee, in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Under the deal, the companies will deploy global best practices and advanced safety and environmental protection systems during the Arctic operations.
The exploration activities will be supported by the Declaration on the Russian Arctic Shelf Environmental protection.
In addition, ExxonMobil and Rosneft will collaborate through an Arctic Research Center to provide a complete range of research and design services to support their cooperation on Arctic projects.
Rosneft president Igor Sechin said the acreage in the Russian Arctic, which is subject to geological exploration and subsequent development, has increased around six-fold.
"That means the enormous resource potential of Russian Arctic offshore fields will be explored and developed in the most efficient manner with the application of cutting-edge technologies and expertise of our strategic partner, ExxonMobil, and using state-of-the-art environmental protection systems," Sechin added.