Chevron eyes Russian oil reserves

The government may give non-state companies access to its oil fields in the Arctic.

By Kim Peterson Mar 1, 2012 5:50PM
Image: Oil drilling platform (© Scott Gibson/Corbis)Chevron (CVX) has waited a long time for a crack at the oil reserves in Russia's northern seas. Soon, it might just get the opportunity.

The company is courting Russian government officials, talking with them about developing the country's Arctic reserves, The Wall Street Journal reports.

A window of opportunity is slowly opening for the company. Up to now, Russia has been very strict about those Arctic reserves, making them off-limits for non-state operations. Only the state-owned Gazprom and Rosneft had access. If any U.S. oil company wanted in, they had to partner with one of the state-owned entities. Exxon Mobil (XOM), for example, joined with Rosneft to explore in Russia's Kara Sea.

Chevron also had an alliance with Rosneft in the Black Sea, but pulled out as the venture hit problems, the Journal reports.

Now, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he wants to open up access to those oil fields, the Journal reports. He wants non-state companies to go in to keep Russia's output from dropping. Russia is trying to produce at least 10 million barrels of oil a day until 2020, The Guardian reports.

And Chevron is chomping at the bit. "Your country owns giant reserves, and absence of significant projects in the Russian Federation is a huge gap in our portfolio," the president of Chevron Neftegaz, a Chevron affiliate, told Russian officials, Reuters reports.

Foreign oil companies have waited a long time to get into the Russian fields and offshore resources. The country is estimated to have more than 100 billion tons of oil, The Guardian reports.

Tags: CVXoilXOM
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