MOSCOW, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Working with U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil will help unleash the "enormous resource potential" in the Russian arctic, Rosneft executive Igor Sechin said.
Exxon and Rosneft signed a strategic agreement to work in about 150 million acres in the Russian arctic. Sechin, Rosneft's chief executive officer, said the measure adds to its growing relationship with Exxon.
"The acreage in the Russian arctic subject to geological exploration and subsequent development increased nearly six-fold," Sechin said in a statement. "That means the enormous resource potential of Russian arctic offshore fields will be explored and developed in the most efficient manner with ... our strategic partner Exxon Mobil."
Warmer climate trends have left arctic areas ice-free for longer periods, exposing areas that may contain oil and natural gas resources. Environmental groups have expressed concern over the threat of environmental damage, however.
Both companies said they're committed to using the best of what technology has to offer to ensure the arctic environment is protected.
In August, Exxon and Rosneft signed a deal that included development in areas of the Black Sea and the South Kara Sea in the Russian arctic. There may be as much as 85 billion barrels of oil in the Kara Sea.