FRENCH oil giant Total has done a $4bn (£2.46bn) deal to explore gas deposits in the Arctic with Russian independent firm Novatek, it announced yesterday.
Total has signed up for a 20 per cent stake in the Yamal liquefied natural gas project, which contains an estimated 802bn cubic metres of natural gas and 31m tonnes of gas condensate.
Total plans to spend $4bn on buying a 12 per cent stake in Novatek, which both firms expect to rise to 19.4 per cent within three years.
Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin was present at the signing ceremony near Moscow.
Total, which has operated in Russia since 1989, is the latest oil major to team up with a Russian firm to gain access to Arctic exploration.
State-owned oil firm Rosneft has signed multi-billion dollar deals with Exxon and BP this year to combine the expertise of US and UK firms with access to one of the last known untapped oil deposits.