Royal Dutch Shell are in talks with Rosneft over “potential exploration cooperation” in the Arctic.
Shell chief Peter Voser met with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Deputy Energy Minister Sergei Kudryashov and Rosneft President Eduard Khudainatov in the Russian capital yesterday.
The meeting has given rise to speculation that Shell could take rival BP’s place in Arctic drilling exploration plans. Until last week, BP and Rosneft were planning a project in the Arctic to extract a potential 40 billion barrels of oil. This fell through when they failed to unlock the Anglo-Dutch firm’s existing exclusivity with Russian partner AAR before the deal’s deadline expired.
A spokesperson for Shell said: “Shell welcomed the constructive talks in Moscow this week regarding the potential for exploration cooperation with Rosneft in the Arctic, broader strategic cooperation and technological developments for the Arctic and other areas as well as opportunities for Rosneft to join Shell in development outside Russia.”
Prospects of a share-swap in the deal were nipped in the bud, as the spokesperson added: “These discussions excluded any proposals to use Shell’s shares.”
The Russian Government’s website confirmed that talks “paid particular attention to opportunities for long-term cooperation in geological prospecting and the development of oil and gas resources on the Arctic shelf and in the Black Sea.”
Shell has an agreement with Rosneft, which predates the collapse of the recent BP-Rosneft deal, for “strategic cooperation” in 2007.