(EnergyAsia, April 30, Monday) — China’s Sinopec and Russia’s Rosneft have signed a deal to jointly explore and develop the Venin offshore basin in Russia’s Sakhalin region. Rosneft will have a 74.9% stake while Sinopec 25.1% in the venture to explore the shelf in the Sea of Okhotsk, covering an area of 5,300 square km estimated to hold reserves of at least 170 million tons of oil and 258 billion cubic metres of natural gas.


The agreement was small consolation following the recent March visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao to Moscow, which saw the two countries sign 20 trade pacts worth some US$4.3 billion.


But for the Chinese, there was disappointment that the summit did not lead to an increase in Russian crude oil exports to China from 10 million to 15 million tonnes annually. Talks were apparently derailed by a failure between state-owned oil Rosneft and Russian Railways to agree on freight rates.