TotalFinaElf Negotiating to Develop Siberian Oilfield

TotalFinaElf is in negotiations with Anglo Siberian Oil to develop the Vankor oilfield in eastern Siberia, adding to its expanding oil interests in Russia. TotalFinaElf, Europe's largest refiner and buyer of Russian crude oil, has this year sought a bigger foothold in the world's second-largest oil-exporting country. "We are negotiating," said a TotalFinaElf spokeswoman, declining to comment further.

Anglo Siberian Oil, which holds a 59 percent stake in the license rights to the Vankor field in Russia, this month said it was planning to let TotalFinaElf take over as operator and acquire a 52 percent interest in the Vankor license. It also said it would give TotalFinaElf the option to take over as operator and acquire a 60 percent stake in the North Vankor license. The Vankor oilfield has an estimated 900 million barrels of reserves.

Anglo Siberian was holding an extraordinary general meeting about proposed board changes on Wednesday, at which shareholders were also expected to discuss the Vankor plans.

TotalFina already produces 12,000 barrels per day in Russia under a production sharing agreement for the Kharyaga field in the Timan Pechora region, but a second development phase will more than double this to 30,000 bpd before the end of the year.