September 8, 2011 / 9:20 AM / 8 years ago

RPT-Russia's Rosneft to expand its offshore oil base

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MOSCOW, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Russia’s competition body has approved a request from the country’s top crude producer Rosneft to acquire more offshore assets, following the company’s deal last week with Exxon Mobil to extract oil and gas from the Russian Arctic.

The watchdog, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, or FAS, approved a petition from a Rosneft subsidiary, Zapad-Shmidt-Invest LLC, to acquire Chernomorneftegaz, Sintezneftegaz and Artikprominvest, with assets located mostly in the Arctic, it said on Wednesday.

Details of the investments were not disclosed. However, Uralsib analysts said on Thursday that “Rosneft should be able to acquire the assets for a total of $300-$400 million”.

A Rosneft spokesman said the talks on the purchase of the assets are not yet complete.

Rosneft and the world’s top natural gas producer Gazprom have exclusive rights to develop offshore hydrocarbon reserves, according to Russian law.

Uralsib said Chernomorneftegaz, controlled by Novolipetsk Steel (NLMKq.L) owner Vladimir Lisin, holds licenses for four blocks in the Black and Azov Sea, with prospective oil and gas resources of between 1.4 billion and 2.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Sintezneftegaz, controlled by senator Leonid Lebedev, has licenses for two blocks in the Barents Sea, with estimated resources of up to 7 billion boe.

Last week, Rosneft signed an agreement with Exxon Mobil to jointly develop oil and gas deposits in the Russian Arctic. [IDnL5E7JU1RR]

“The Arctic assets may complement the three blocks in the Kara Sea to be included in the ExxonMobil JV,” Uralsib analysts said in a note. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin)

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