AMSTERDAM, April 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom and the Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell have signed a tentative deal to develop hydrocarbons in the Russian Arctic.
The deal was signed on Monday evening by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Jorma Ollila, chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell board of directors, following negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Amsterdam.
The memorandum anticipates the joint prospecting and development of hydrocarbon deposits in the Russian Arctic.
The Gazprom head said at the signing ceremony that the deal was a framework agreement that envisaged cooperation in the Arctic as a whole, and that it did not refer to any specific hydrocarbon deposits.
Under existing rules, only Russian companies with over 50-percent state ownership and no less than five years’ experience working in marine exploration are allowed to develop the Russian continental shelf. Only Rosneft and Gazprom currently meet these requirements and can involve other companies in the shelf development through joint ventures.
Royal Dutch Shell also signed a memorandum with Gazprom Neft, Gazprom’s oil arm, on cooperation in exploring and producing shale oil in Russia.
Shale oil hydrocarbons are located in West Siberia in the Bazhenov, Abalak and Frolovskaya rock formations. The deposits lie at a depth of more than 2 km (1.2 miles) and are spread over more than 1 million square km, according to data on the Gazprom Neft website.