Rosneft Wins New Arctic Block
Russia’s Rosneft has secured rights to a remote oil and gas block north of the Arctic Circle in a blind state auction, subsoil licensing agency Rosnedra said on October 15.
The West-Irkinsky block lies on the relatively unexplored Taymyr peninsula. Its resources are assessed at 21.94mn mt of oil and 270bn m3 of gas, under Russia’s classification system.
Rosneft’s win in the auction was a near certainty. The company requested that West-Irkinsky be put up for sale, and it was the sole bidder in the contest.
West-Irkinsky lies adjacent to the Baikalovskoye field, which Rosneft is appraising with BP, and the Paiyakhskoye deposit, managed by a private operator called Neftegazholding (NGH), headed by former Rosneft president Eduard Khudainatov.
According to Vedomosti, Rosneft and NGH plan to bring all these assets together, as well the giant Vankor field further south and its satellite deposits, under one joint venture. The company, known as Vostok Oil, could sell 15-20% of its equity to international investors in return for tax breaks, sources told the newspaper on October 10.
Rosneft and NGH are thought to have a very close relationship, with a Moscow city arbitration court even recognising the latter as a Rosneft affiliate in 2015, before the decision was annulled by a federal court.