Rosneft signs Alaska gas field deal with ExxonMobil

Rosneft signed Wednesday an agreement with ExxonMobil giving the the US super-major access to seven Arctic fields in exchange for the Russian firm's possible participation in a lucrative Alaskan gas project.

The agreement -- signed by Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin and ExxonMobil exploration head Stephen Greenlee in the presence of President Vladimir Putin -- extends a strategic agreement that the two companies signed in 2011 focusing on Russia's Arctic offshore field development.

The two companies said in a statement that ExxonMobil would receive rights to seven of the 12 Arctic fields Rosneft secured from the Russian government earlier this month.

The US giant said that Rosneft in return had the option of acquiring a 25-percent stake in its Point Thomson project -- fields that ExxonMobil owned for decades but could only start developing recently following necessary approval from the government.

Rosneft and ExxonMobil said they are also studying the option of building a liquified natural gas plant in Russia's Far East near the Sakhalin fields where the US firm also has a stake.