SOCHI, Russia, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Rosneft and U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil announced a deal to explore and develop offshore resources, including those in arctic waters.
Both companies announced the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement through which joint exploration and development of offshore reserves in Russia, the United States and other countries will take place.
The agreement includes $3.2 billion for an exploration campaign in the frigid waters of the Kara Sea and parts of the Black Sea. Exxon in a statement said both areas are "among the most promising and least explored" in the world.
"We have a clear vision for Rosneft's strategic direction -- building world-class expertise in offshore business and enhancing oil recovery," added Rosneft President Eduard Khudainatov in a statement.
Both companies agreed to set up an arctic research center aimed at developing new technology to explore drilling operations in the ice. Melting sea ice is exposing vast unexplored oil and gas deposits, though environmentalists are worried about the potential for a major spill.
The agreement, which includes work in Western Siberia and the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, follows a failed deal between Rosneft and BP for similar operations. Anglo-Russian venture TNK-BP complained a proposed deal between its sister company, BP, and Rosneft violated the terms of its shareholder agreement.
"This venture comes as a result of many years of cooperation with ExxonMobil and brings Rosneft into large scale world-class projects, turning the company into a global energy leader," added Khudainatov.