TNK-BP Buys One of Last Soviet-Era Major Oilfields

MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian-British oil joint venture TNK-BP has won a tender to buy one of Russia’s last three major unexploited Soviet-era oilfields in a deal likely to benefit oil giant Rosneft, in auction results announced by the Federal Subsoil Agency on Tuesday.

The auction was won by TNK-BP’s subsidiary, Samotlorneftegaz, which offered the highest price for the Lodochnoye oil deposit located in the Krasnoyarsk Territory in East Siberia. The field has recoverable oil reserves of about 43 million metric tons (315 million barrels) and recoverable gas reserves of around 70 billion cubic meters.

“The largest…payment, offered by Samotlorneftegaz, amounts to 4.660 billion rubles [$150.8 million],” the Federal Subsoil Agency said.

The auction’s starting price was set at 3.6 billion rubles ($116 million). The other bidders included private oil firm Surgutneftegaz, oil major Rosneft and Status LLC, a subsidiary of Gazprombank affiliated with energy giant Gazprom.

The Lodochnoye field is close to the Suzun and Tagul oil deposits operated by TNK-BP and the Vankor oil and gas field, the biggest field discovered in Russia in the last 25 years, which belongs to Rosneft. Oil from Vankor is exported via the East Siberia–Pacific Ocean Pipeline (ESPO) to China.

Lodochnoye is one of the last three major oilfields discovered in the Soviet period, along with the Imilor and Shpilman deposits, which the subsoil watchdog wants to auction off by the end of this year.

“If we complete the auctions on Imilor, Severo-Rogozhnikovskoye (Shpilman) and Lodochnoye in 2012 we will thus draw the line under the era of the mineral reserve base on oil that was established in Soviet days,” agency head Igor Plesovskikh said in October.

Given the current level of geological prospecting activity, there is little hope that new large or even medium-sized deposits will be discovered, he said.

The Federal Subsoil Agency has scheduled an auction for the Severo-Rogozhnikovskoye deposit for December 18, with a starting price of 14 billion rubles ($453 million), and for Imilor for December 25, with a starting price of 25.4 billion rubles ($822 million).

Rosneft, which recently announced an all-out purchase of TNK-BP and has already secured the Russian government’s approval to buy 100 percent of Russia’s third-largest crude producer from British oil major BP and the AAR consortium of Russian billionaire shareholders, will be the main beneficiary of the Lodochnoye auction, experts said.

“In the final account, the [Lodochnoye] deposit will go to Rosneft,” Investcafe analyst Yulia Voitovich said, adding the Russian oil giant had already carried out geological prospecting at the site to determine the field’s reserves.

“Considering the proximity of the Suzun, Tagul and Vankor deposits, the license acquisition will optimally fit into Rosneft’s production base,” she added.

Along with boosting its resources base and improving its output performance in the long-term, Rosneft will get synergy from the development of these deposits as the company will be able to use the infrastructure of all four fields to slash its operating costs, she said.


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