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ExxonMobil to become Rosneft’s strategic partner instead of BP

August 31, 2011, 12:03 UTC+3

Rosneft has found a new strategic partner to replace BP – the world’s major oil company

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MOSCOW, August 31 (Itar-Tass) —  Rosneft has found a new strategic partner to replace BP – the world’s major oil company, America’s ExxonMobil. The company has already joint projects in Sakhalin and in the Black Sea. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was present at the signing of a strategic partnership agreement, which was inked by Rosneft’s CEO Eduard Khudainatov and ExxonMobil Development’s President Neil Duffin. The companies agreed on join exploration of the Russian shelf. The alliance does not plan to have exchange of shares, like it was with BP. However, Rosneft may join ExxonMobil’s projects in North America.

Thus, the Vedomosti writes, it will be ExxonMobil which will replace BP, with which Rosneft’s alliance did not happen for claims from another partner of the British company in Russia – the AAR Consortium. With it BP shares TNK-BP. BP and Rosneft planned a joint cooperation in the Arctic and an exchange of shares, but AAR proved that the deal contradicted with the TNK-BP shareholder agreement. Court procedures still continue.

“Today’s event, surely, will be taken positively by the world energy markets, as it opens new horizons,” the newspaper quotes Prime Minister Putin as saying. He added that Rosneft will get options to work at ExxonMobil’s fields, including those in the USA – in the Gulf of Mexico and in Texas. “ExxonMobil, no doubt, is a leading company, including in operations in complicated sprats of the Arctic,” Putin added.

ExxonMobil will become Rosneft’s partner in development of three Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky sectors in the Kara Sea, the sides have finalised terms for development of the Tuapse Arch in the Black Sea, the Kommersant writes. Rosneft may receive shares in geological prospecting, which ExxonMobil has in North America, including those in the deep-water shelf in the Gulf of Mexico and hard-to-reach oil reserves in Texas. At the same time, the sides will study options for joint projects in Western Siberia, in third countries, and will organise the Arctic scientific and design centre of self development in St. Petersburg.

The agreement does not include the key element of the alliance of Rosneft and BP – exchange of shares. This issue has not been on the agenda, the newspaper quotes a source close to the negotiations, and ExxonMobil has not demonstrated any interest to Rosneft’s shares. “We have agreed, that that this stage an exchange of shares is not necessary,” Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin confirmed.

As a replacement, Rosneft considered several international oil and gas companies, the Kommersant writes. It chose ExxonMobil, partially because the companies had been working together at the Sakhalin-1 (the American company owns 30 percent, it is the project’s operator, and Rosneft has 20 percent) and the Tuapse Arch already. It was back in January that Rosneft and ExxonMobil agreed on joint work in the Black Sea. The American company got 33.3 percent in the project and promised to invest one billion dollars in it.

ExxonMobil promised to invest in Russia’s shelf projects 3.2 billion dollars. In the Arctic, the companies will follow the same approach as they use at the Tuapse Arch. In the new joint venture, ExxonMobil will get 33.3 percent, and Rosneft - the remaining 66.7 percent. ExxonMobil will also undertake all expenses for geological prospecting, which may make one-two billion dollars. The extracted resources at the three fields are estimated to make 4.9 billion tonnes of oil.

As for the “third countries,” according to the newspaper’s source close to the negotiations, Rosneft may join Canada’s Hibernia project, where ExxonMobil has 33.1 percent, and the rest belongs to Chevron, Suncor, Canada Hibernia, Statoil, and Murphy.

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin forecasted the total amount of direct investments in joint projects of Rosneft and ExxonMobil at 200-300 billion dollars, and “talking about infrastructures, construction of necessary facilities, development of the territory, the investments may reach 500 billion dollars.”

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