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Russia eyes Shell as Arctic partner: report

Russia’s Rosneft oil company is discussing a strategic Arctic development partnership exclusively with Shell after its alliance with BP fell apart last week, a report said on Thursday.

Shell chief executive Peter Voser this week met Rosneft head Eduard Khudainatov and Igor Sechin, a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who orchestrated the January BP deal.

Sechin said last week that Rosneft was ready to discuss an Arctic partnership with several global oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Petrobras.

But the Russian company is only talking to Shell, Vedomosti daily said, citing sources in the government and close to Rosneft.

Rosneft is not planning to meet with other companies in the near future, and Shell could become Russia’s strategic partner in Arctic exploration, the report said.

Russia will need to incorporate foreign expertise and technology to undertake exploration and drilling for the collossal Artic oil reserves.

The partnership with BP included a share swap with Rosneft before it disintegrated in litigation with BP’s existing partner in Russia TNK-BP.

However Shell is not currently discussing swapping shares with the Russian company, a Shell spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

Shell is involved in Russia’s Sakhalin 2 oil and gas project, which includes a gas liquifying plant, off Russia’s far-eastern coast in which it owns 27.5 percent.