Shell CEO Cautious on Rosneft Arctic Talks - Report

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), June 1, 2011

Shell Chief Executive Peter Voser said talks last week with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin about the possible joint exploration of Russia's Arctic shelf had looked at a "multitude of blocks" but that it was "too early to say where this will go," the Financial Times reports Wednesday.

Last week's meeting between Voser and Sechin, who oversees the oil and gas sector, came two days after Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said he doesn't expect state-controlled oil giant Rosneft and BP to revive their strategic alliance after it was blocked by BP's existing Russian partners, a group of Soviet-born billionaires known as AAR.

BP and Rosneft announced in January plans for a $16 billion share swap and joint development of three blocks in Russia's Arctic Sea. But AAR, arguing the pact violated the terms of its agreement with BP in their TNK-BP Ltd. joint venture, went to court in the U.K. to block the deal.

After months of talks, discussions broke down earlier this month.

While BP said last week it is still discussing the joint exploration of the Russian Arctic with Rosneft, Shell has expressed renewed interest in that region. However, the idea of a share swap with Rosneft isn't under consideration, the company told Dow Jones Newswires.

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