Gazprom, Shell to Develop Arctic Oil Fields

MOSCOW (AP) -- Energy giants Gazprom (NASDAQOTH: OGZPY  ) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) have agreed to jointly develop offshore Arctic oil fields, Russian media reported Monday.

The companies will develop the Severo-Vrangelevsky field in the Chukchi Sea and the Severo-Zapadny field in the Pechora Sea. Russian Energy Minister Sergei Donskoy was quoted by national media as saying Monday that Shell is likely to have a 33.3 percent stake in the fields.

Russia is trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas. By speeding up the Arctic oil project, the Kremlin is strengthening its bid.

However, environmentalists have warned that drilling in the Russian Arctic could have disastrous consequences because of a lack of technology and infrastructure to deal with a possible spill in a remote region known for huge icebergs and severe storms.

The deal between Gazprom and Shell also envisages development of offshore oil fields in South Africa.


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