Rosneft, Chevron to explore Black Sea for oil

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Russia's largest oil company Rosneft said Thursday it had signed an agreement with US oil giant Chevron to explore for oil in the Black Sea.

"Chevron will finance initial exploration activities, including seismic surveys and exploration drilling," Rosneft said, without providing financial details of the deal.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his deputy in charge of energy, Igor Sechin, oversaw the signing at Putin's Novo-Ogarevo residence just outside Moscow, Rosneft said.

The Shatsky Ridge unit, also known in Russian as Val Shatskogo, holds a license to explore the West Chernomorsky oil field.

Located in the eastern waters of the Black Sea, the oil block used to belong to the now defunct oil giant Yukos, whose former boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year jail sentence and is being tried on fresh charges of embezzlement and money laundering.

Rosneft bought the Val Shatskogo unit in 2007 after the government seized and auctioned off Yukos assets.

Drilling of the first exploration well is scheduled to start late next year, Rosneft said.

© 2010 AFP

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