(EnergyAsia, June 17 2013, Monday) — US major ExxonMobil and Russia’s Rosneft, the largest energy companies in the two countries, said they have agreed to jointly establish an Arctic Research Centre (ARC) and share technology to support their joint ventures in developing hydrocarbon reserves around the world.

Rosneft will hold a two-third share in ARC with ExxonMobil the remaining third as the two companies took another step forward in advancing their long-term strategic cooperation agreement signed in August 2011.

The US major said it will provide US$200 million in funding for the centre’s initial research work, and equally share the next US$250 million.

ARC staff will be located with the Rosneft and ExxonMobil joint venture teams in Moscow to ensure resource efficiency and interaction between technical and management staffs.

Formally named the Arctic Research and Design Center for Continental Shelf Development, the new organisation will provide the partners a full range of research, development and technical services, with near-term focus on the Kara Sea in the Arctic region.

ARC will initially focus on enhancing safety and environmental protection, conducting ice, ocean and geotechnical surveys, providing sea ice management services, developing design criteria, and evaluating and designing development concepts.

The agreements were signed in Washington DC last week by Rosneft President and chairman Igor Sechin and Sara N. Ortwein, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, in the presence of Rex W. Tillerson, ExxonMobil chairman and CEO and other executives from both companies.

Mr Sechin said:

“Projects in the framework of our strategic partnership with ExxonMobil pose a number of challenges. The ARC will be a platform for development of the most up-to-date and efficient technologies aimed at project implementation in complex and challenging climate and technological conditions. Environmental safety is our priority, and we believe the technologies developed in the ARC will enable us to implement our joint projects in the safest and most efficient way to the benefit of all participants of Arctic exploration.”

Ms Ortwein said:

“Technology and expertise have been the cornerstones of ExxonMobil’s success in the Arctic for the past 90 years.

“The Arctic Research Centre and our technology sharing agreement provide new opportunities to combine our knowledge and expertise with the talented people at Rosneft to meet the next set of challenges in the Arctic and deepwater.”