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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fields Eyed by Exxon to Be Sold Off

The state will auction off Far East oil prospects that ExxonMobil sought to include in its $17 billion Sakhalin-1 project.

The government is reviewing the boundaries of the prospects, off Sakhalin Island under the Sea of Okhotsk, and will sell them by July, said Pyotr Sadovnik, deputy head of the Natural Resources Ministry's subsoil agency.

Exxon had lobbied for the right to expand the boundaries of the Chayvo and Odupto fields, part of its Sakhalin-1 project, to include nearby discoveries.

In September, the Natural Resources Ministry said new prospects would be offered at auction.

Sakhalin-1 is part of Exxon's plan to boost daily output by 23 percent to the equivalent of 5 million barrels by the end of the decade. Output reached 250,000 barrels of oil per day in February. The Natural Resources Ministry's environmental inspectorate will begin checking Sakhalin-1 this month.

The same inspectorate threatened to derail Royal Dutch Shell's $20 billion Sakhalin-2 venture next door until December, when Shell and its Japanese partners agreed to sell control of the project to state-run Gazprom.

Sakhalin-1, which also includes the Arkutun-Dagi field, holds an estimated 2.3 billion barrels of crude oil and 480 billion cubic meters of gas.

Exxon's partners in Sakhalin-1 are state-run oil company Rosneft, a Japanese group known as SODECO and India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp.

Russia plans to hold 300 auctions for oil and gas deposits this year, compared with 269 last year, Sadovnik said.