19 February 2013, 20:38

Rosneft invites China to the shelf

Rosneft invites China to the shelf

Rosneft is looking for partners in Asia. The head of the company Igor Sechin has visited China where he made arrangements about increased oil deliveries and discussed the potential for joint exploration of the Russian shelf. Experts believe that searching for partners in China is an attempt to strengthen positions on prospective sales markets.

Igor Sechin met with the managers of three Chinese largest oil and gas companies the CNPS, Sinopec and the CNOOC. According to the media, they discussed joint exploration of the shelf of the Barents and Pechora Seas. Rosneft has already signed similar agreements with American ExxonMobil, Italian Eni and Norwegian Statoil. In addition, there is also strategic partnership with the British BP.

There are plenty of promising projects. At the end of January Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a directive of turning over 12 plots of the Russian shelf to Rosneft. Some experts believe that the company would need a large pool of partners to explore all the fields. Director of the Energy Development Foundation Sergey Pikin says that the more partners we have in such a difficult and cost-demanding project the faster we would progress in geological exploration and commercial development. Agreements are signed both with countries possessing such technologies and countries having free financial resources.

Some analysts believe that the main aim of Rosneft is to consolidate its position on the Asian sales market through its partners. During his visit Igor Sechin met with Vice Premier of the State Council (the government of China) Wang Qishan. According to the company’s press-service, they came to an agreement about a considerable increase of Russian oil deliveries to China. They are not very large so far, only about 15mln tons a year. Russians are first and foremost interested in the increase of their exports, analyst of the IFD Kapital financial group Vitaly Krukov believes. He says that Russia needs China as a large consumer of oil and gas. If the shelf projects are a success, liquefied gas and oil could be delivered from the shelf to China. Russia’s strategy has considerably changed in recent years, now it is oriented at Asian markets.

During the latest APEC summit in Vladivostok the Russian leadership proclaimed the so-called Asian vector. This includes deliveries of oil and gas. Experts explain this by the intention to lower dependence on Europe which is the largest consumer of Russian oil and gas. The European economy is living through a difficult period and our European partners are energetically expanding the geography of their purchases. Nevertheless, Vitaly Krukov is convinced that in the coming years Europe will remain the main consumer of Russian fuel.

The highest increase in sales will take place in Asia. Experts forecast that already in the next 3-4 years the volume of deliveries to that region could double.

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