ExxonMobil, Rosneft Drill Russia's Northernmost Well

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ExxonMobil and Rosneft begin drilling Russia's northernmost well in the Kara Sea in the Russian Arctic.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and its Russian partner Rosneft OAO reported at the weekend that they have begun exploration drilling in the Kara Sea in the Russian Arctic.

Drilling of Universitetskaya-1, Russia's northernmost well, was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a teleconference with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and ExxonMobil Russia Head Glenn Waller, who were both present in the Kara Sea.

"The start of exploratory drilling in the Kara Sea is the most important event of the year for the global oil and gas industry. As a result of this work we are planning to discover a new Kara sea oil province. Developing of the Arctic shelf has a huge multiplicative effect on the whole Russian economy," Sechin said.

Drilling is being carried out by the rig West Alpha (mid-water semisub), which is being supplied to the operation by North Atlantic Drilling under an agreement signed with Rosneft in July.

Rosneft said the Universitetskaya structure contains resources running to more than 9.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Previously, a total of some 30 structures were found in three East Prinovozemelskiy areas of the Kara Sea, with the entire resource base of the three areas estimated at 87 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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