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ExxonMobil-Rosneft partnership advances

ExxonMobil Corp. and Rosneft have signed agreements under a broad upstream partnership they formed last year that support exploration off Russia and the acquisition by Rosneft subsidiaries of interests in the Gulf of Mexico and unconventional resources in the US and Canada (OGJ Online, Aug. 30, 2011).

The new agreements:

• Form joint ventures to manage an exploration program in the Kara and Black Seas and set terms of investments by the partners. In a statement, the companies estimated the “initial cost of preliminary exploration” at more than $3.2 billion.

• Provide for the acquisition by Neftegaz Holding America Ltd., an independent indirect subsidiary of Rosneft, of a 30% equity interest in ExxonMobil’s share of a tight oil prospect in the Delaware basin of West Texas called La Escalera Ranch.

• Give Neftegaz Holding America the right to acquire 30% interest in 20 blocks held by ExxonMobil in the western Gulf of Mexico.

• Provide independent Rosneft subsidiary RN Cardium Oil Inc. 30% of ExxonMobil’s share of the Harmattan acreage in the Cretaceous Cardium tight oil play of western Alberta. “The execution of that project may become a source for the development of technologies for unconventional reservoirs in Russia,” the statement said.

ExxonMobil Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson and Rosneft Pres. Eduard Khudainatov said they were encouraged to proceed by moves of the Russian government to reform taxation of the oil industry.

The companies said they began exploration of the Tuapse license block in the Black Sea off Russia last September. A seismic program there is 70% complete. Drilling of the first exploratory well is planned for 2014-15.

Seismic and environmental programs of the East Prinovozemelsky blocks in the Kara Sea remain under planning. Drilling of an exploration well is possible in 2014.

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