British Petroleum allies with Russian oil group

British Petroleum (BP) has made an alliance with Russian oil group Rosneft, as a joint effort is made to discover oil resources in the Far Eastern island of Sakhalin.

Shell and Exxon Mobil oil companies are already operating in Sakhalin, after rumours that there are sizeable deposits of crude are still to be found, despite the fact that in the last thirty years, five enormous oil wells with huge deposits have been discovered there.

BP and Rosneft have together signed an agreement which gives the British company a 49% stake and a five-year exploration licence in the area immediately north of Sakhalin island. After seismic tests, drilling will commence in early 2004.

John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON UNITED KINGDOM