ST. PETERSBURG--Japanese and Russian government-affiliated corporations have agreed to carry out a joint geological survey of oil reserves in eastern Siberia.
The deal should enhance the participation of Japanese enterprises in the development of the Russian Far East and Siberia, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has defined as one of his top priorities.
Senior officials of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) and Russia's Gazprom Neft signed an agreement June 22 on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The signatories will conduct a joint study in the Ignyalinsky licensing block, about 1,000 kilometers north-northeast of Irkutsk, through the end of 2013. The location is only 80 km from the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean Pipeline, which will be used to transport crude oil from Siberia to the Pacific Ocean.
The pipeline, which will be completed by the end of this year, is looked upon as a backbone of Russia's eastward expansion in energy development.
"We will have Japanese companies join the project if an oil field is discovered," said Hironori Wasada, the executive director of JOGMEC's Oil and Gas Upstream Business Unit. "Our role is to give the initial push."
Vadim Yakovlev, Gazprom Neft's deputy CEO, said, "Our company will play a major role in the government-backed development of the Far East and Siberia."
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