MOSCOW, April 28 (UPI) -- Russian oil company Rosneft said it was moving ahead with a joint effort with Exxon Mobil to explore for hydrocarbons in the arctic waters of Russia.
The board of directors said Monday they'd work to develop the Ust-Lensky reserve area in the northern Laptev Sea and the Severo-Vrangelevsky-1 in the Chukchi Sea in eastern Russia. Both sides would also explore parts of the Kara Sea under the terms of a joint venture operation, they said.
Neither side offered a reserve estimated of the targeted areas.
Changing weather patterns are leaving parts of the arctic ice-free for longer periods, giving energy companies a greater opportunity to explore frontier oil and natural gas basins.
Environmental groups like Greenpeace have expressed concern about drilling campaigns in the pristine arctic environment.
The environmental campaign group was critical during the weekend after it learned French energy company Total purchased oil from Russia's arctic region.
Greenpeace oil campaigner Ben Ayliffe said the move only strengthens Moscow's grip on the region's energy sector.