OAO Gazprom (GAZ) Neft may develop an oil deposit in Russia’s Arctic Pechora Sea with PetroVietnam, the Vietnamese state energy company, as Russia pivots to Asia after the U.S. and Europe imposed sanctions on the country.
The oil arm of state-run Gazprom started exclusive talks with the Vietnamese producer on joint development of the Dolginskoye field, which holds more than 200 million tons (about 1.5 billion barrels) of estimated reserves. A joint venture, with Gazprom Neft taking a majority stake, may be set up after talks are completed by the end of May, according to an e-mailed statement from the Russian company.
“Vietnam has always considered Russia to be one of its leading partners,” Nguyen Phu Trong, the country’s communist party leader, said today at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin before a venture signing ceremony in Sochi.
Putin has looked to Asia to help tap billions of barrels of unconventional resources after the U.S. and Europe blocked some oil transactions over Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. Gazprom Neft, sanctioned in September, had planned to expand its partnership with Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) to develop Arctic offshore blocks and shale oil in Siberia last year.
The company doesn’t rule out finding an Asian partner for the Dolginskoye field as it needs financial recourses, Gazprom Neft Chief Executive Officer Alexander Dyukov said last month.
The company’s press service declined to provide further details on the possible deal with Vietnam. Gazprom said in an October bond prospectus that commercial output at the field is due in 2020 to 2021, reaching a peak 4.8 million tons a year in 2027.