ExxonMobil, Rosneft expand arctic net to Alaska, LNG

ExxonMobil Corp. and Rosneft of Russia have agreed to expand a 2011 strategic cooperation agreement to include far more Russian Arctic exploratory acreage, possible Rosneft participation in ExxonMobil’s Point Thomson gas-condensate field in Alaska, and a potential Russian Arctic LNG project.

The two companies will add seven Arctic license areas that total 150 million acres in the Russian Chukchi, Laptev, and Kara seas. The 2011 pact covered East Prinovozemelskiy Blocks 1, 2, and 3 that total 126,000 sq km in 50-150 m in the Kara Sea and the Tuapse license block in the Black Sea (OGJ Online, Aug. 30, 2011).

The license blocks include the Severo-Vrangelevsky-1, Severo-Vrangelevsky-2 and Yuzhno-Chukotsky blocks in the Chukchi Sea, the Ust’ Oleneksky, Ust’ Lensky, and Anisinsko Novosibirsky blocks in the Laptev Sea, and the Severo Karsky block in the Kara Sea. The companies called the areas “among the most promising and least explored offshore areas globally.”

A separate heads of agreement provides Rosneft or an affiliate an opportunity to acquire a 25% interest in the Point Thomson Unit, which covers development of a remote and giant gas-condensate field. It is estimated that Point Thomson contains 25% of the Alaska North Slope known gas resource base.

Another memorandum of understanding calls for the two companies to jointly study the economics of an LNG project in the Russian Far East, including the possible construction of a liquefaction facility. The companies will form a joint working group that’s to start work within weeks to study the viability of an LNG project using available natural gas resources.

The companies committed to using global best practices and state-of-the-art safety and environmental protection systems for the Arctic operations. The work will be supported by the recently signed Declaration on the Russian Arctic Shelf Environmental Protection. Also, ExxonMobil and Rosneft will work together through an Arctic Research Center to provide a full range of research and design services to support their cooperation on Arctic projects.

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