Exxon Mobil scored a major coup in the search for Arctic oil today, signing a deal with Russia to explore areas with state-owned Rosneft, reports Reuters. The deal gives Exxon access to spots controlled by Moscow in the Kara Sea, which has become a much sought-after region within the petroleum industry now that sea ice looks to be receding, notes the New York Times.
As part of the deal, Exxon will give Rosneft a stake in some US operations in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas. Rosneft was seeking out an offshore partner because it doesn't have its own technology for deep sea drilling, and the agreement comes after a similar deal between Rosneft and BP fell through. The Wall Street Journal sees it as a "big win" for Exxon in the race to lock down potential fields. Vladimir Putin estimated that the total investment in the project could be a "scary" $500 billion, notes AP.