Any hopes BP may have had of a monogamous relationship with its new Russian partner evaporated last night when Rosneft signed separate Siberian and Arctic deals with ExxonMobil.
Igor Sechin, the Rosneft president, said: “I am certain our experience and infrastructure in western Siberia, coupled with the state-of-the-art technologies of our partner, ExxonMobil, will allow us to begin developing large tight oil reserves.”
A spokesman for the British oil group said it was ridiculous to suggest BP felt snubbed, pointing out that BP’s planned new 20% holding in Rosneft left it as an “owner not a contractor” in Russia. He said that Russia was an enormous oil province, while Exxon’s deals with Rosneft were relatively limited in their scope.
BP also noted that the original Rosneft/Exxon deal to explore for oil in Siberia and develop offshore prospects in the South Kara sea was signed in August last year while the share-swap agreement between Rosneft and BP had only just been tied up.
At an investor briefing on Monday, BP highlighted Russian shale oil deposits as one of the areas it wanted to focus on, but it also made clear that this might be done either with, and independently of, Rosneft.