March 27 French oil giant Total SA is
planning to team up with Lukoil on its shale oil
projects in Russia as the country resorts to unconventional
resources to replace falling production at ageing fields in
Siberia, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
Lukoil is exploring the massive but unproven Bazhenov
formation, which holds the major share of Russia's shale oil
reserves, which according to the U.S. Department of Energy is
estimated to be the biggest in the world, the newspaper reported
on its website.
People familiar with the matter said Lukoil and the French
oil major are discussing a joint venture to co-operate on the
production of 'difficult oil' in Russia - a category that
includes shale oil. There is no guarantee that the talks would
result in a deal, they added, the Financial Times said.
Total and Lukoil officials were not immediately available to
comment on the report.
The two companies have been in talks for a tie-up
since before Russia's annexation of the Crimean province and the
subsequent sanctions imposed on the country by the United States
and EU, the report said.
Lukoil's potential deal with Total would mark a change of
strategy for the Russian group, which until now has opted to
develop its Russian assets alone, the business daily said.
(Reporting by Koustav Samanta in Bangalore; editing by Andrew