MOSCOW Dec 7 ExxonMobil agreed to spend
$300 million on advanced horizontal drilling and fracking at
Russian state oil company Rosneft's Siberian fields in
a project designed to help Russia realise its vast tight oil
The two companies will form a joint venture, split 51-49
between Rosneft and Exxon, to carry out the pilot programme and
launch commercial production if they find sufficient oil in the
Bazhenov shale and the nearby Achimov formations of Western
The Bazhenov is the world's largest source rock. However,
Russia, still rich in conventional reserves, has yet to follow
in the footsteps of the United States in deploying advanced
horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, which
is known as fracking, on a commercial scale.
With the core fields of Western Siberia in decline, however,
the government of Russia, the world's largest crude producer,
has offered tax breaks for companies who drill into "tight"
formations where hydrocarbons are trapped in non-porous rock.
Several oil companies are drilling the Bazhenov on a limited
scale to test the economics of these more expensive production
techniques in Western Siberia.