Japan to Launch Joint Oil Exploration with Top Russian Firm -Nikkei

TOKYO (Dow Jones Newswires), June 3, 2011

The Japanese government is in talks with Russia's state-owned Rosneft to jointly develop oil fields in eastern Siberia and the Far East, with exploration starting as early as this year, The Nikkei reported early Saturday.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Russia's top petroleum company will form a working-level committee this summer to study deposits in the Magadan oil field in the Sea of Okhotsk as well as in eastern Siberia. If promising reserves are found, a new firm will be established, with a Japanese consortium holding a stake of up to 49%.

Inpex, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., and trading houses are expected to participate.

After the March earthquake and tsunami, Russia proposed joint resource and energy development with Japan. Despite territorial disputes with Russia over islands off Hokkaido, Japan aims to strengthen bilateral economic relations and secure a steady supply of petroleum.

A geological research institute estimates that the Magadan field holds about 1.8 billion barrels of oil.

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