Lukoil is scouting for oil and natural- gas investments in U.S. shale fields, President Vagit Alekperov said.
Lukoil joins a line of companies looking at the NorthAmerican shale industry, as much to get the drilling technology as the oil andgas. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) bought shale gas producer XTO EnergyInc. for $41 billion and PetroChina Co. last month made its biggestoverseas investment of $5.4 billion for a stake in Encana Corp.’s Canada shalefield.
Lukoil is hunting for new ways to recover oil
Through JVs Lukoil wants to access the technology and be able to apply those techniques tooil-rich shale deposits in Russia. Lukoil already is experimenting in theBazhenov formation in West Siberia, which has liquids.
Russia has seen a burst of transactionsthis year.
BP Plc agreed a $7.8 billion stock swap withstate- controlled Rosneft Oil Co., though it’s being challenged byBP’s Russian partners in TNK-BP. On March 3, France’s Total SA agreed to pay $4billion for 12 percent of Russia’s NovaTek. Both groups aim to developfields in the Russian arctic.
Lukoil pioneered such transactions, with ConocoPhillips taking a stake that at one point reached 20 percent. ConocoPhillipshas since sold out as part of a larger asset- disposal program.
Joint Ventures byRussian and Asian companies to continue
Joint ventures will continue to be used by international oiland gas companies, particularly for most Russian and Asian companies wanting to acquire shale acreage in the U.S. Companies won’t want the negative political backlash that CnoocLtd. went through when it tried to buy Unocal Corp. in 2005. The next round ofjoint ventures may come from Russian,Japanese and South Korean companies.