As reported by the Barents Observer, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) struck a deal with Rosneft over the exploration of three fields in the Barents and Pechora Seas.
The Agreement was signed during the last week's visit to Russia, paid by the Chinese President – Xi Jinping. The Agreement included Zapadno-Prinovozemelsky structure in the Barents Sea and the Yuzhno-Russky and Medynsko-Varandeysky structures in the Pechora Sea.
With the cooperation in place, the CNPC becomes Rosneft's third foreign partner in the Barents Sea. From before, agreements have been signed with Eni and Statoil. In addition, Rosneft has a comprehensive agreement with ExxonMobil in the Kara Sea.
The Zapadno-Prinovozemelsky is among the least explored areas on the Russian shelf, and resource estimates are sparse. However, the hydrocarbon potential is believed to be considerable considering the highly perspective surrounding areas.
China has over the last couple of years displayed a quickly increasing interest in Arctic issues. As previously reported, China could already by year 2020 send as much as 15 percent of its international trade through Arctic waters.
The country is also bidding for a permanent observer status in the Arctic Council. In the summer of 2012, the country sent its icebreaker "Xue Long" (Snow Dragon) in a historic mission along the Northern Sea Route and made an attempt to reach the North Pole.
Rosneft was one of the last vertically integrated oil companies to emerge from the reorganization and large-scale privatization of Russia's oil industry in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Today its plans are about to reach implementation of a number of hydrocarbon exploration and development projects in Russia, the United States and other countries, as well as to set up a joint Arctic Research Center (ARC) in St. Petersburg.