June 19 (UPI) -- Preliminary data indicate a new oil field has been discovered in an area said to hold at least a dozen promising reservoirs, Russian oil company Rosneft said.
Rosneft said three core samples from the Tsentralno-Olginskaya-1 well in the northern Laptev Sea showed "high oil saturation."
"On the basis of primary studies already, it can be concluded that a new oil field has been discovered, the volume of the resource potential of which is increasing as the drilling continues," the company said in a statement.
The well was the first drilled into the area by Rosneft, which holds 28 licenses in the Russian Arctic. The company boasted that it's success in the region has been "excellent" so far and said the preliminary estimate of the entire Laptev Sea reserve is more than 60 trillion barrels of oil equivalent.
Seismic surveys, which are used to get a better understanding of the reserve potential, reveal 14 promising oil and gas basins in the region, Rosneft added.
Russian Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoi said earlier this year that, while the market was prohibitive of further development, the Arctic region was a strategic development opportunity. Development of the fields above the Arctic Circle is costly, with most Russian operators waiting for oil to move above $75 per barrel to review further opportunities.
The price for Urals crude oil, the regional benchmark, was trading at about $46.50 early Monday.
A subsidiary of Gazprom Neft in early May said total cumulative production from the Novoportovskoye field above the Arctic Circle reached 5 million metric tons, or around 35 million barrels. A total of 19 wells at the field have been constructed so far this year at the field.