MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) — Russia’s largest private oil company Lukoil plans to increase its presence in the gas business and may collaborate with the state-run gas exporter Gazprom in the country’s east, Kommersant news daily wrote on Tuesday.
"There is hardly any oil equity left, especially in the more traditional regions of the company's activity, such in the Nenets region. It would make sense to focus the efforts on gas. Moreover, many new large reserves have oil fringes, as well," the paper wrote citing anonymous sources.
Gazprom and Lukoil signed a strategic partnership agreement for 2014-2024 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week.
According to the agreement, two companies will explore the possibility of engaging in common projects in Russia's continental shelf and several other regions, such as the Caspian Sea, East Siberia and the Far East.
The energy giants plan to form a joint venture and support one another in oil and gas sectors. The share allocation remains unclear, and no specific projects have been set yet, the sources say.
Eastern Siberia so far presents the most plausible working area for the partnership. The companies are yet to explore cooperation opportunities under the Eastern gas program "with regard to possible export to China and other Asia-Pacific Region countries."
Although Lukoil has no gas assets in the region, the sources say "the region is interesting and in partnership with Gazprom, it can start work there."
Uzbekistan, where Lukoil already has three ongoing oil projects at least until 2020, is another area of interest in terms of gas projects.
Lukoil has no access to the continental shelf so far and has nearly drained existing reserves in western Siberia. It's interest in gas comes as no surprise, as several of its rivals, such as Rosneft, had started working with gas firms before, the paper writes citing Valery Nesterov, oil and gas analyst from Sberbank Investment Research.
Gazprom, in its turn, is interested in additional financing of its East Siberian projects, he said.