Inpex, Rosneft to sign agreement on oil, gas development

TOKYO Tue May 28, 2013 9:44pm EDT

A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

A logo of Russian state oil firm Rosneft is seen at its office in Moscow, October 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Inpex Corp (1605.T) and Russia's state-controlled oil company Rosneft (ROSN.MM) will sign an agreement on Wednesday on oil and gas development, the Japanese trade ministry said, a sign recent talks on energy cooperation are bearing fruit.

Japan has been scouring the world for energy supplies after the devastating Fukushima crisis in 2011 crippled its nuclear power sector. It now consumes a third of global LNG shipments, with Russia already accounting for 10 percent of its imports.

The two countries have been in intense discussions on expanding energy supply agreements that could redraw the East Asia energy map, sources involved in the discussions told Reuters last month.

Inpex, Japan's top energy explorer, and Rosneft will agree on developing two oil fields off the Russian port of Magadan in the Okhotsk Sea, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Wednesday.

The companies will develop blocks named Magadan 2 and Magadan 3 fields with estimated reserves of around 3.4 billion barrels, the report said. The Japanese explorer will have a one-third stake in the development, it added, citing unidentified Japanese and Russian sources.

Inpex spokesman Kaisuke Yano said the company was not the source of the report.

A statement received later from Japan's trade ministry said Inpex President Toshiaki Kitamura and Rosneft President Igor Sechin will sign the agreement on the joint exploration of oil and natural gas on Wednesday morning.

Exploration surveys will start as early as 2017 and drilling is expected to start around the mid-2020s, the Yomiuri report said.

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp will defray 50 to 75 percent of the costs during exploration, and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation will also provide finance for the full development stage, it added.

(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing Aaron Sheldrick and Himani Sarkar)

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