To Tap Arctic Oil, Russia Partners With Exxon Mobil
Fri, 05/25/2012 - 03:31 EDT - NPR - National Public Radio (Business News)
Moscow's recent deals with foreign oil companies are designed to maintain Russia as the world's No. 1 oil producer. The biggest deal, with Exxon Mobil, would put billions of dollars toward exploiting vast oil and gas reserves in Russia's Arctic waters.» E-Mail This» Add to Del.icio.us
Russia is fortifying Arctic, pouring in money and missiles
New generation of nuclear icebreakers is being built
New bases are rising, derelict airfields being unsealed
Arctic rivals look on amid fears of new arms race
Moscow is eyeing new territory, mineral wealth, sea route
MURMANSK, Russia — The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy o
In what will likely be interpreted as the latest "test" by the Kremlin to gauge western military preparedness, Reuters reports that Russia has quietly unleashed the biggest military build up targeting the Arctic since the fall of the Soviet Union. "It is part of a push to firm Moscow's hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China." It is also part of the ongoing scramble for resources above the commodity rich arctic circle.
With TNK-BP, Rosneft overtakes Exxon and PetroChina Co. in output. It will pump about 4.1 million barrels a day this year
OAO Rosneft’s US$55-billion takeover of TNK-BP creates an empire stretching from Russia’s Far East to Venezuela that pumps almost 5% of the world’s crude.
Russia’s state-run oil company said a well drilled in the Arctic Ocean with Exxon Mobil Corp. struck oil, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas.
OAO Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said the exploration well had found about 1 billion barrels. The number of similar geological structures nearby means the immediate area probably contains more than the U.S. part of the Gulf of Mexico, he said at the rig that drilled the well.
“It exceeded our expectations,” Sechin said.
As the Russian standoff on Ukraine continues, the EU and the US are ready to slap another round of sanctions on Russia. The new sanctions would restrict drillers from pursuing future exploratory activities in the Arctic as well as deepwater and shale rock formations with Russian partners.
The Arctic has been the fascination of many people for centuries.
Hundreds of years ago, the Europeans saw the Arctic’s frigid waters as a potential gateway to the Pacific. The region has also been home to many unique native cultures such as the Inuits and Chukchi. Lastly, it goes without saying that the Arctic is unsurpassed in many aspects of its natural beauty, and lovers of the environment are struck by the region’s millions of acres of untouched land and natural habitats.
Lundin Petroleum AB, the Swedish explorer focused on Norway, said there won’t be any new oil output in the ice-filled waters of the Arctic for at least 15 years because of technical and logistical challenges.
“I don’t think we’ll see any oil production in the Arctic any time soon — probably not this decade and not the next,” Chairman Ian Lundin said in a Feb. 20 interview in Stockholm. “The commercial challenges are too big.”