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Rosneft to drill exploratory wells on Kamchatka shelf in 2008

Rosneft will drill exploratory wells at a giant western Kamchatka shelf in Far Eastern Russia as early as next year, the head of Russia’s largest crude producer said Wednesday.

“All preliminary work to start drilling the first prospective sites has been completed, and the drilling will start in two wells in 2008,” Sergei Bogdanchikov said. State-controlled Rosneft holds a 60% stake in the project, which is comparable in scale to major oil and gas projects like Sakhalin I and Sakhalin II. The Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) holds a 20% stake.

The Kamchatka shelf is about two-thirds the size of South Korea and is estimated to hold about 900 million metric tons of fuel equivalent at 26 sites. “The project is comparable with, or could even outstrip, Sakhalin I and Sakhalin II,” Bogdanchikov said. “The shelf has probable reserves of 3.8 billion metric tons of hydrocarbons but we cannot say yet how much of it is oil and how much gas.” A Russian-South Korean commission on economic, science and technical cooperation signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the shelf in September 2004.

The Rosneft president said work on the shelf started in 2005, and $90 million had been invested since then. “In 2008, we will invest about $270-300 million, and further investment will depend on the prospecting results.” Total investment could hit $24 billion, he said. Bogdanchikov declined to comment on where the oil and gas from the shelf would go afterwards.

The other shareholders in the project are a consortium of Korea Gas Corp., GS-Caltex Corp., SK Corp., Daewoo International Corp. and Kumho Petrochemical and Hyundai Corp. (