Eni-Rosneft pact covers Barents, Black Sea exploration

By OGJ editors

Eni SPA and Rosneft have signed a strategic cooperation agreement covering exploration of licenses in the Barents and Black Seas offshore Russia.

Rosneft again cited tax changes by the Russian government as an incentive to advance international partnerships. A week earlier, it said tax adjustments encouraged it and ExxonMobil Corp. to sign agreements under an earlier cooperation pact for projects offshore Russia and in and offshore the US (OGJ Online, Apr. 17, 2012).

“The key factor that prompted [Rosneft and Eni] to sign the agreement was the steps taken by the government of the Russian Federation to introduce tax incentives for offshore production, including canceling export duties and introducing a reduced Mineral Extraction Tax rate of 5-15% depending on project complexity,” Rosneft said. “The government also offered guarantees that the favorable tax regime will remain in place for a prolonged period of time.”

Rosneft also might participate in Eni international projects under the agreement.

Eni and Rosneft will establish a joint venture to explore the Fedynsky and Central Barents license areas in the Barents Sea and Western Chernomorsky area in the Black Sea. The companies estimated recoverable resources in the license areas at 36 billion boe.

Holding a 33.33% interest, Eni will finance “comprehensive geological exploration work to confirm the commercial value of the fields,” said Rosneft, which remains the license holder.

Licenses and work

The license for the 38,000-sq-km Fedynsky block calls for acquisition of 6,500 line-km of 2D seismic data before 2017 and 1,000 sq km of 3D seismic data by 2018. The first exploration well is due before 2020 and a second by 2025 if the first is successful. Water depths in the area are 200-320 m.

The companies say 2D seismic surveys indicate nine prospects in the Fedynsky area with recoverable resources estimated at 18.7 billion boe.

In the Central Barents area adjoining Fedynsky to the north, seismic surveys have identified three promising formations holding an estimated 7 billion boe of hydrocarbons. Water depths are 160-300 m.

The Central Barents license calls for acquisition of 3,200 line-km of 2D seismic data by 2016 and 1,000 sq km of 3D data by 2018. The first well is to be drilled by 2021 and a provisional second well by 2026.

The 8,000-sq-km Western Chernomorsky area in the Black Sea has water depths of 600-2,250 m. Rosneft has identified six prospective formations with seismic surveys with recoverable resources estimated at 10 billion boe. Two exploration wells are due in 2015-16.

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