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The purchase gives Rosneft and its affiliates access to the world’s biggest oil and gas deposit.
The agreement was signed by Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s President and Stephen Greenlee, ExxonMobil Exploration Company President.
“ExxonMobil has a long history of safe oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico using state-of-the-art safety and environmental protection systems,” said Greenlee.
Sechin said: “This agreement provides Rosneft and its subsidiaries with access to one of the world’s most prolific basins. We believe joint efforts of our companies will ensure the most efficient development of these blocks, with application of the latest technologies and adhering to high environmental standards.
“Moreover, experience and knowledge acquired in the process may potentially be used when developing deepwater blocks in Russia, including in the Tuapse Trough in the Black Sea as envisaged under the Strategic Cooperation Agreement.”
Rosneft’s subsidiary, Neftegaz Holding America Ltd, is registered in Delaware.
Exxon Mobil Corporation is an American company that operates petroleum and petrochemicals businesses globally.
The 20 blocks cover the area of about 450 square kilometres at the depth of 640-2,070 metres.
The blocks are currently not producing oil and the seismic data of the region is still being analysed.
Seventeen are located in the Western Gulf of Mexico and three are in the Central Gulf of Mexico.
The American company will invest some $3.2 billion at the first stage of exploration.
Rosneft’s expenses will depend on how much ExxonMobil invests into the projects, said the statement.
Last spring Rosneft and ExxonMobil signed agreements on Strategic Cooperation that stipulate the establishment of two operational companies for joint work on the shelves of the Kara Sea and Black Sea, joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources in Russia and other countries.
In February, Rosneft and ExxonMobil agreed to expand their cooperation under their 2011 Strategic Cooperation Agreement to include an additional 600,000 square kilometres in the Russian Arctic, as well as a Far East liquefied natural gas exploration project.
In exchange, Rosneft has provided ExxonMobil access to joint exploration projects in the rich and largely untapped Black Sea and Arctic shelves.
Daria Chernyshova with inputs from Ria Novosti