today announced the achievement of several milestones under their 2011 Strategic Cooperation Agreement, including joint venture formation for the Kara Sea and Black Sea projects, and establishing foundations for joint ventures to explore seven other licenses in the Russian Arctic and to manage the joint West Siberia tight oil project. The companies have also agreed to move to the next planning phase for an LNG development in the Russian Far East.
The Black Sea and Kara Sea joint venture operating companies, Tuapsemorneftegaz SARL and Karmorneftegaz SARL respectively, will commence project implementation activities as operator pursuant to agreement with Rosneft, which is the license holder. Rosneft holds 66.67 percent interest and ExxonMobil holds 33.33 percent interest in the two projects. The initial cost of exploration in the two areas is estimated at more than US $3.2 billion, the majority of which will be financed by ExxonMobil. In 2013 collection of data for both regions will continue until the commencement of drilling operations in the Kara and Black seas in 2014.
In February, ExxonMobil and Rosneft announced plans to increase the scope of their strategic cooperation by adding seven new blocks in the Russian Arctic in the Chukchi Sea, Laptev Sea and Kara Sea, spanning approximately 600,000 square kilometers (150 million acres). Rosneft and ExxonMobil have entered into agreements that lay the foundation for joint venture entities for these areas. Data acquisition is being planned for these blocks, which represent some of the most promising and least explored offshore areas globally. The license obligations stipulate that 14 exploration and appraisal wells will be drilled and a significant amount of 2D and 3D seismic will be conducted over the next 10 years.
Agreements are also now in place establishing the foundation for a new joint venture for a tight oil pilot project in West Siberia, where data collection operations are currently underway. Rosneft will hold 51 percent interest and ExxonMobil will hold 49 percent interest in this project.