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Russia sees Chinese role in arctic oil

Lack of infrastructure curbing exploration ambitions in the far north of Russia.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Russia sees Chinese role in arctic oil
Russian minister says China may play an active role in exploring for oil and natural gas reserves in the arctic region. Photo by longtaildog/Shutterstock

MOSCOW, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Russia's deputy energy minister said Monday an invitation to China was on the table to help with energy exploration strategies in the arctic.

A lack of infrastructure in the arctic north of Russia is putting a moderate throttle on the region's oil production. Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told state news agency RIA Novosti there were talks between Russian oil company Rosneft and China on working in the arctic to enhance operations there.

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"The topic is in discussion at the company level," he said. "As far as I know, Rosneft is negotiating [with China.]"

In Russia's far north Yamal Peninsula, full-year oil production is waning by nearly 4 percent from last year to around 152 million barrels.

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia's Gazprom, reached a milestone in September 2014 with the production of its 1 millionth barrel of oil from the arctic Prirazlomnoye field. Prirazlomnoye is the first ever project ever brought into production in Russian arctic waters. Commercial production started in 2013.

The Russia news agency reports Rosneft in early September reached a deal to explore the arctic waters in the Sea of Ohkotsk with China Oilfield Services Ltd. and Norwegian energy company Statoil,

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Declining trends for oil production in the Russian north are in contrast to the rest of the country. Novatek, the largest private crude oil producer in Russia, reported a 40 percent increase in production year on year.

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