Russia's mid-sized oil company Bashneft, the winner of a tender to develop the giant Trebs and Titov oilfields in the Russian Arctic, is in talks with the country's largest privately held crude producer, LUKoil, to jointly develop the project, Kommersant business daily reported on Tuesday.
The talks are close to completion and a final decision is expected this week, the paper quoted Alexander Goncharuk, chairman of the Bashneft board of directors, as saying.
Goncharuk declined to give any further details but said that if the talks failed, Bashneft could develop the oilfields on its own or invite another partner.
The Trebs and Titov deposits are among the most promising in the Timan-Pechora northern province with C1 reserves estimated at 78.9 million tons (578 million barrels) and 63.4 million tons (465 million barrels) of oil respectively. Russia's subsoil use agency granted Bashneft the license for the deposits in February following December's auction.
On March 10, LUKoil head Vagit Alekperov denied any negotiations with Bashneft on the development of the Trebs and Titov deposits but confirmed that the company was interested in the oilfields. On Monday, however, LUKoil told Kommersant that "we have significantly advanced on the way to particular agreements."
In December, Alexander Korsik, head of the fuel and energy business division of Bashneft's parent company, AFK Sistema, said plans for the future development of the Trebs and Titov oilfields largely depended on the results of the negotiations with LUKoil.
"LUKoil has infrastructure in the region and at these deposits, which we would like to use," Korsik said.
LUKoil has already invested about $1 billion in the development of the Timan-Pechora oil-bearing province while total investment in the Trebs and Titov oilfields is estimated at $5-6 billion, the paper said.
Bashneft has also named Rosneft, Zarubezhneft and India's ONGC among its potential partners. Moreover, AFK Sistema announced plans to sell up to 25% of Bashneft's stock to ONGC, the paper said.
MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti)