MOSCOW, Russia - Making a breakthrough in the search for hydrocarbons, Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft said on Sunday that it had found its first oilfield in the Laptev Sea in the eastern Arctic.
Despite Western sanctions, the country has been searching for hydrocarbons in the harsh and far-flung region.
Rosneft said that along with its partners, it plans to invest $8.4 billion in developing Russia's offshore energy industry over the next five years.
It added that the investment was part of a drive to boost output from new areas.
The company said in a statement, "The result of the drilling at the Khatanga licence block allows Rosneft to be considered the discoverer of (oil) fields in offshore Eastern Arctic.”
Rosneft, that currently owns 28 blocks in the Arctic offshore area with combined estimated resources of 34 billion tonnes of oil equivalent has sought tie-ups with several global oil players to develop Russia's offshore regions.
However, in 2014, after the imposition of Western sanctions against Moscow, a deal to work in the Kara Sea in the western Arctic with U.S. company Exxon Mobil was suspended.
Since then, Rosneft has been working in the Laptev Sea and values the hydrocarbon resources of the sea at around 9.5 billion tonnes of oil equivalent.
The sanctions bar Western companies from helping with Arctic offshore, deepwater and shale oil projects.
Reports pointed out that by 2050, the Arctic offshore area is expected to account for between 20 and 30 percent of Russian production, which is one of the world's largest.