Bloomberg, By Ilya Arkhipov, Stephen Bierman & Ryan Chilcote, September 27
Russia, viewed by the Obama administration as hostile to U.S. interests, has discovered what may prove to be a vast pool of oil in one of the world’s most remote places with the help of America’s largest energy company.
Russia’s state-run OAO Rosneft (ROSN) said a well drilled in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean with Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) struck oil, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas.
The announcement was made by Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief executive officer, who spent two days sailing on a Russian research ship to the drilling rig where the find was unveiled today. The well found about 1 billion barrels of oil and similar geology nearby means the surrounding area may hold more than the U.S. part of the Gulf or Mexico, he said.
“It exceeded our expectations,” Sechin said in an interview. This discovery is of “exceptional significance in showing the presence of hydrocarbons in the Arctic.”
The development of Arctic oil reserves, an undertaking that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and take decades, is one of Putin’s grandest ambitions. As Russia’s existing fields in Siberia run dry, the country needs to develop new reserves as it vies with the U.S. to be the world’s largest oil and gas producer.
Output from the Kara Sea field could begin within five to seven years, Sechin said, adding the field discovered today would be named “Victory.”
The Kara Sea well — the most expensive in Russian history — targeted a subsea structure named Universitetskaya and its success has been seen as pivotal to that strategy. The start of drilling, which reached a depth of more than 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), was marked with a ceremony involving Putin and Sechin.
Via Zero Hedge: Russia Discovers Massive Arctic Oil Field Which May Be Larger Than Gulf Of Mexico