ExxonMobil strikes deal with Rosneft for Arctic offshore oil reserves

The world's largest publicly-traded energy company, ExxonMobil, announced on Wednesday, April 18, it has struck a major deal with the Russian government's Rosneft to open offshore oil exploration in the Arctic and Black Seas, according to The Associated Press.

The deal comes less than a year after the collapse of talks on a similar project between Rosneft and British energy giant BP.

All told, the project could potentially lead to the investment of more than $500 billion to develop offshore oil platforms capable of tapping into massive reserves in the frigid waters along Russia's north coast.

While the deal includes access to around 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent in the more hospitable Black Sea, the primary prize is the estimated 85-billion-barrel reserve in the Kara Sea, north of the center of the country. The Kara Sea reserve alone amounts to nearly three-and-a-half times ExxonMobil's existing reserves, though notably it will hold only one-third of the project.

"Experts say that this project, in terms of its ambitions, exceeds sending man into outer space or flying to the moon," said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, according to Reuters.

More information on Russian oil markets can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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