Although Royal Dutch Shell has announced a hiatus this summer for exploring the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean off of Alaska, the energy giant isn't slowing down. Shell has signed an agreement with Russian energy giant Gazprom, allowing it to explore and develop petroleum prospects in Russia's Arctic.
"Gazprom and Shell already partner in the Russian shelf development. The new accords enable us to explore the potential of our joint capabilities," said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, said in a press release.
The memorandum outlines plans for the development of shale oil in the Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, and the Pechora Sea.
The agreement was signed in Amsterdam by Gazprom's Alexey Miller and Jorma Ollila, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Dutch Shell, earlier this month. Emphasizing the importance, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte both were present at the signing.
The new joint venture will enable the two companies to create a competence center on oil shale development in Russia and provide for increasing the technology level of the Russian oil industry.
"The agreements reached bring our partnership to a new level. Our companies already have the experience of long-lasting successful work within the Sakhalin II and Salym projects, and we welcome the opportunity to use this experience and our innovation technologies in Arctic operations and shale oil development," said Peter Voser, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell.
While Shell has spent more than $5 billion on its effort to its effort to drill off Alaska's north and northwestern coasts, but it ran into a series of problems this summer, culminating with the grounding of the drill ship Kulluk near Kodiak Island enroute to Seattle. That vessel is now headed to Asia for repairs.