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Rosneft strikes $2.5 bn Arctic deal with Statoil

Russia’s state oil champion Rosneft struck a $2.5 billion Arctic exploration deal Saturday with Norway’s Statoil — its third global tie-up in a month and a sign of its growing global ambitions.

The new deal was signed by the two companies’ chief executives in the presence of Vladimir Putin and came only two days ahead of his swearing in to a third presidential term.

“We value our relations with our neighbours and are confident that the project will develop well,” news agencies quoted Putin as saying at the ceremony.

“There is no question that it will have the government’s full support,” Putin added.

The terms of the deal announced by Rosneft will see Norway’s state-held group win one-third ownership in a new joint venture that will explore one of the Russian firm’s many fields in the Barents Sea.

The deal also covers three Rosneft blocs in the Far Eastern Sea of Okhotsk.

Rosneft said the deal further sees its “participation in the exploration of license blocks in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea, as well as the possible acquisition by Rosneft of interests in Statoil’s international projects.”

The agreement’s structure is almost identical to those Rosneft engineered in the past month with the US supermajor ExxonMobil and Italy’s ENI.

All three deals give foreign companies access to the Arctic in return for investments in development and advanced technology sharing with Rosneft.

“By building on both companies’ competence and experience, this agreement is a significant step further in the industrial development of the northern areas,” Statoil CEO Helge Lund.

The deal also represents another massive coup for Russia’s energy tsar Igor Sechin — a former Rosneft chairman and close Putin ally who is widely tipped for a promotion in the new government.