Rosneft wins American access in Exxon deal
By Vladimir Soldatkin and Melissa Akin
MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - Russian state oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.MM: Quote) will gain access to North American energy sources and know-how for developing hard-to-produce reserves when it finalizes a joint venture with Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote) on Monday, industry sources said.
Rosneft was offered a role in seven projects under its landmark deal last year with the biggest U.S. oil company, which could open up 36 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic offshore and help keep Russia's place as the world's top producer.
Rosneft chose three Exxon projects to start with - in West Texas, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and in Canada's province of Alberta - and will gain minority interests in them, the sources said. Further projects may eventually be pursued.
Rosneft's focus in North America will be on so-called unconventional hydrocarbons - including resources such as shale oil and shale gas. It will seek to deploy the advanced recovery methods used there at its own fields in Siberia.
Russia's oil tsar, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, will present the project to analysts with Exxon's CEO, Rex Tillerson, and the head of Rosneft, Eduard Khudainatov, on Wednesday in New York, according to an invitation to the event.
Exxon posted an announcement regarding the briefing on its web site later on Friday. A representative for Sechin declined to confirm his travel plans. Rosneft declined to comment.
The joint venture deal will be formalized on Monday, the sources said. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said, however, that he was not aware of any planned meetings on the matter.
Finalizing the joint venture will mark a major turnaround for Exxon, which scaled back its presence in Russia after failing to take over the country's largest oil company Yukos, whose boss, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested in 2003. Continued...