Siberia for Sale

Vankor Field. Source: vankoroil.livejournal.com
Vankor Field in the Source: vankoroil.livejournal.com

Rosneft will sell stakes in two oil and gas fields to Indian companies. Earlier, Russia offered the same field to the Chinese, but with no luck. 

Russia’s top crude producer may sell nearly 50 percent stake in the company’s second-largest oil field, located in eastern Siberia.

If the proposed sale is realized, India’s state Oil and Natural Gas Corporation will increase its stake in Rosneft’s Vankor project to 26 percent, and a group of Indian companies (Oil India, Bharat Petroresources and Indian Oil) will scoop up 23.9 percent, Rosneft announced Wednesday. Rosneft will retain control over 50.1 percent of the project.

The oil field is estimated to have reserves of 520 million metric tons of oil and 182 billion cubic meters of natural gas, both natural and dissolved, according to Rosneft’s website. Covering 416 square kilometers, the field is slightly smaller than the country Andorra.

Separately, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin signed a legally binding agreement to sell a 29.9 percent interest in its Taas-Yuryakh Neftegasodobycha subsidiary, which produces oil in Russia’s Far East. Additionally, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) may be able to increase their share to 26 percent up from 15 percent. ONGC bought 15 percent of project shares in September for $1.3 billion.

In November 2014, Vladimir Putin personally offered China’s CNPC a 10 percent stake in the oil subsidiary, but the deal never went through. Rosneft ended up selling a 20% share in the project to BP in November 2015 for an estimated $750 million, according to Sechin.

By 2017, the field is expected to produce 100,000 barrels of crude per day, and also has 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves.

Combined, the Financial Times calculated that the two deals could raise up to $4 billion for the cash-strapped state giant.

Geographically, both fields offer close access to Asian markets.