BP Plc will pay OAO Rosneft $750 million for a stake in an East Siberian oil producer, following Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s plans to expand a natural gas export project in Russia.
BP will take a 20 percent stake in Taas-Yuriakh Neftegazodobycha LLC in Russia’s Far East, according to statements from Rosneft and BP. The companies will also jointly explore areas in Siberia and, if successful, form a venture with Rosneft holding 51 percent. Holdings in their German refineries will be reorganized as well, the partners said.
Europe’s two biggest oil companies are looking for increased access to Russia’s vast energy reserves and their proximity to the markets of China and Japan even as the world’s second-biggest oil and gas producing nation seeks to maintain sales to Europe in the face of U.S.-led sanctions. BP reset its Russia strategy two years ago when it swapped its half in TNK-BP for cash and a 20 percent stake in state-run Rosneft.
“BP will continue to seek attractive investment opportunities to develop Russia’s substantial resources whilst continuing to comply with international sanctions,” David Campbell, president of BP in Russia, said in the statement.
While U.S. and European sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine conflict restrict Rosneft from borrowing internationally and limit access to offshore and shale technology, it doesn’t prevent it from selling assets.
The Taas-Yuriakh unit holds licenses for conventional oil and gas deposits. Output from the fields, near a pipeline to the Pacific coast, will be used to supply Russian far-eastern refineries and China, according to a statement on Rosneft’s website. Production will increase fivefold to 100,000 barrels a day in 2017 from current levels.
The unit also holds 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, according to the website.
Shell signed an agreement with OAO Gazprom to expand the gas-export terminal at Sakhalin-2, which supplies the fuel to Japan, on Thursday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Rosneft and BP also agreed on Friday to reorganize their German venture Ruhr Oel GmbH, which has stakes in other refineries. BP will own all of the Gelsenkirchen refinery and solvent producer DHC Solvent Chemie.
In turn, Rosneft will take over all of Ruhr Oel’s holdings in the Bayernoil, PCK Schwedt and MiRO refineries, doubling its existing stake in each plant, according to the statement.