December 19, 2017 / 2:52 PM / 2 years ago

Gazprom Neft in talks with China's ZPEC over east Siberian oil fields project - sources

FILE PHOTO - The logo of Russia's oil producer Gazprom Neft is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. Picture taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft is in talks with the Chinese drilling company Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group Corp (ZPEC) over it taking a stake in Gazprom Neft’s Chonsk oil fields development project in Siberia, two sources at the Russian company told Reuters.

The Chonsk project consists of three fields some 100 km from the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, Russia’s key route for oil exports to Asia.

The project requires advanced drilling and extraction techniques due to the variable permeabilities and porosities of the carbonate reservoirs, Gazprom Neft has said.

“Oil servicing company ZPEC wants to become a shareholder in our upstream project,” one of the sources said. Another company source confirmed ZPEC’s interest in the project.

ZPEC’s office phone was not answering on Tuesday due to the late hour in Shanghai. On its website ZPEC said that its major clients include Chinese top energy companies CNPC, Sinopec as well as Russia’s Lukoil and Gazprom Neft itself.

Gazprom Neft declined to comment.

Vadim Yakovlev, first deputy chief executive with Gazprom Neft, told Reuters in October that the company may establish a joint venture with a Chinese company for the Chonsk project, offering a 49 percent stake. He did not name a company.

The Chonsk fields could contain more than 210 million tonnes of oil and 270 billion cubic metres of gas according to Russian estimates. Gazprom Neft has been performing exploration work with a view to starting production after 2020.

Reporting by Olesya Astakhova; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason in Beijing Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Greg Mahlich

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