Russia's Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy with president Vladimir Putin. Image courtesy of the Kremlin.

Russia’s Rosneft is reportedly gearing up for a new wave of Arctic exploration and will begin considering offers from new potential partners to join the program.

The Russian oil giant is expected to submit a plan for Arctic shelf development by the end of the year that will allow it to continue drilling despite western sanctions, Reuters said.

Details about the plan have not been released.

Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy said Rosneft is ready to consider proposals from companies looking to replace former exploration partner ExxonMobil.

In September, western sanctions forced ExxonMobil to pull out of its planned $3.2 billion joint venture with Rosneft that was set to explore offshore Arctic prospects and included plans to drill at 40 prospects by the end of 2018.

China has reportedly expressed interest in a partnership, Russian news agency TASS said.

“I believe Rosneft should independently choose partners from among the countries, which have not set any sanctions against Russia and a final choice will depend on this,” Donskoy said.

“We’re ready to consider proposals from those who will be interested in taking part in the project,” the minister said.

Rosneft filed a lawsuit against the EU to fight the sanctions in October.

No hearing date has been set.

In September, the United States and EU tightened financial sanctions against Russian oil companies including Rosneft that prohibit the companies from receiving bank loans with a maturity date longer than 30 days.

Exports of technology and equipment for deepwater exploration and production to Russia are also barred along with the exploitation of oil and gas resources in the Russian Arctic and at onshore shale plays.


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