Russia's OAO Rosneft will put its boots and drilling crews on the ground in the United States and Canada through several partnership agreements completed with ExxonMobil Corp. on Monday.

Last August ExxonMobil inked preliminary agreements with the state-owned oil company to partner in the technically difficult Arctic regions of the Kara and Black seas; initial exploration costs for those ventures are estimated at more than $3.2 billion (see Shale Daily, Aug. 31, 2011).

The strategic cooperation agreements in North America would provide Rosneft with access to two onshore plays:

Neftegaz also was given the right to acquire a 30% interest in 20 blocks in the western part of the Gulf of Mexico held by ExxonMobil.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week promised access and tax breaks to private companies interested in developing Russia's Arctic region -- both considered sticking points with Irving, TX-based ExxonMobil.

"These agreements are important milestones in this strategic relationship," said ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. "Our focus now will move to technical planning and execution of safe and environmentally responsible exploration activities with the goal of developing significant new energy supplies to meet growing global demand."

The producers also agreed to jointly develop tight oil production technologies in Western Siberia, which would enable them to later discuss undertaking joint ventures to explore and develop prospective areas with unconventional oil potential in Russia.

The companies are planning to update the agreements in a webcast presentation to analysts on Wednesday accessible on ExxonMobil's website.