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Shell turns up heat in race to woo Russia

29 May 2011, 3:32pm

Shell has moved ahead of its rivals in a multi-billion pound race to partner Russia as it starts to exploit its vast oil riches in the Arctic.

Following BP’s failure to conclude a partnership deal with Rosneft, Shell has organised a series of further talks with the Kremlin-controlled company.

A meeting on Wednesday between Shell chief executive Peter Voser and deputy prime minister Igor Sechin has fuelled speculation that an alternative deal may be on the cards.

While Sechin, the former Rosneft chairman and the broker of the BP deal, has listed an impressive set of potential partners, according to energy sources, only Shell had been invited for further talks.

Oil giants such as Chevron, Petrobras and Exxon are not scheduled to go to Moscow.

Talks with Rosneft and Shell last week went so well that prime minister Vladimir Putin suggested that Rosneft could swap shares with Royal Dutch Shell in an Arctic offshore deal similar to one that fell through earlier this month.

The two companies signed an agreement on strategic co-operation in 2007.

BP will be pinning its hopes on Putin, who said last week that it could still be involved in Arctic exploration in some way.

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