Top US oil company Exxon Mobil and Russia’s Rosneft have signed a deal to develop oil and gas reserves in the Russian Arctic.
The agreement involves the fields that BP had hoped to exploit and ends the British company’s chances of reviving its own collapsed deal with the Russians.
Rosneft is being offered a share in a number of Exxon exploration projects in North America.
Under the deal, Exxon and Rosneft will invest $3.2 billion (2.2 billion euros) in developing East Prinovozemelsky Blocks 1, 2, and 3 in the Arctic Kara Sea and the Tuapse licensing block in the Black Sea.
Those regions “are among the most promising and least explored offshore areas globally, with high potential for liquids and gas,” Exxon said in a statement.
“The fact that after the BP-Rosneft deal collapsed a new partner was found so quickly is a very positive signal,” said Denis Borisov, energy analyst at Bank of Moscow.
The deal would help Rosneft share the risks of developing the Arctic, which could run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.
“If this is essentially the BP deal it is exposure to a pretty significant resource base. There’s a lot of risk that’s involved in it,” said Jason Gammel, energy analyst at MacQuarie Research.