Exxon Wins Prized Access to Arctic With Russia Deal
MOSCOW — Exxon Mobil won a highly coveted prize in the global petroleum industry on Tuesday by striking an agreement to explore for oil in a Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean that is opening for drilling even as Alaskan waters remain mostly off limits.
The agreement seemed to supersede a similar but now-defunct partnership that Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft, reached with BP earlier this year. The deal announced Tuesday replaces BP, the British oil giant, with its American counterpart and introduces some differences in the geopolitical bargain.
Where BP had swapped stock, Exxon agrees to hand over to Rosneft unspecified assets elsewhere in the world, including some that the Texas-based company owns in the deepwater zones of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in Texas.
It was not immediately clear whether Rosneft would gain operational control of any Texas or Gulf of Mexico sites or merely obtain a portion of the equity in the projects.
Either way, Exxon’s concessions in the agreement further a long-held goal of the Russian petroleum industry to diversify internationally, using access to reserves at home as leverage to win the capital and technological expertise to do so.
Russia’s economy is dependent on petroleum for about 60 percent of export revenues. Policies here are also important for world oil supplies, as Russia now pumps more oil than Saudi Arabia. Yet Russia’s online fields in Siberia are in decline, threatening the prosperity and geopolitical clout that has come with oil wealth over the past decade. (Read Full Article)