UPDATE 1-Exxon, Rosneft to formalise JV

Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:37am EDT

Related Topics

* Deal to be formalised on Monday - industry sources

* Sechin to attend analyst briefing in New York next Weds

* Rosneft to enter three North American projects

* Venture to examine tight oil in Siberia

By Vladimir Soldatkin and Melissa Akin

MOSCOW/LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - Russian state oil firm Rosneft will gain access to hard-to-recover hydrocarbon resources in North America in exchange for access to Russia's Arctic offshore when it finalises a joint venture deal with ExxonMobil on Monday, industry sources said on Friday.

Russia's oil tsar, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, will present the project to analysts with the head of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, and the head of Rosneft, Eduard Khudainatov, on Wednesday in New York, according to a copy of the invitation.

Rosneft was offered a role in seven ExxonMobil projects under the terms of a landmark Arctic drilling deal last year which could open up 36 billion barrels of oil in the untapped offshore province above Russia's Soviet-era oil and gas heartland in Western Siberia.

Rosneft chose three projects to start with, the sources said, though other projects will eventually be pursued.

Rosneft's focus in North America will be on so-called unconventional hydrocarbons - including resources such as shale oil and shale gas.

The joint venture deal will be formalised on Monday, the sources said.

An Exxon spokesman said an announcement would be posted on the company's web site later on Friday regarding next Wednesday's briefing. A representative for Sechin declined to confirm his travel plans. Rosneft declined to comment.

ExxonMobil has unconventional projects in the Permian Basin in West Texas, an old province like Western Siberia where tight oil has regained its appeal at higher oil prices, as well as several unconventional fields in Canada.

Under the terms of the deal, initialled in August 2011, the two will also look at joint development of tight oil resources in Western Siberia, where production of conventional oil is in steep decline.

Russian oil companies have little experience in tight oil but look to U.S. technologies as an example of what is possible at home. Russian No.2 oil producer LUKOIL has also said it is interested in pursuing unconventional oil in the United States, though it has been put off by high asset prices.

Rosneft has said that it could have more than 2.5 billion tonnes of oil in the shales of the so-called Bazhenov formation at its West Siberian conventional fields.

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