12/14/2011 09:24 EST | Updated 02/13/2012 05:12 EST

Russia's TNK-BP oil firm to invest $10 Bln in Arctic oilfields

MOSCOW - TNK-BP, a Russian joint venture of British oil giant BP, said Wednesday it will invest up to $10 billion in developing Arctic oilfields.

The company, half-owned by BP and Russian billionaires, said in a statement that up to $10 billion will be spent on building infrastructure at the fields and a pipeline that will link them with the export pipeline.

Russian oil companies have been drawing up plans to move to the oil and gas-rich Arctic as mature fields in Western Siberia are getting depleted.

TNK-BP said an agreement with Russia's pipeline monopolist Transneft will allow it to connect its Arctic oil fields to the export pipeline in Russia's Far East mainly aimed at Chinese customers.

TNK-BP will be able to ship oil through the Zapolyaryev-Purpe pipeline, which is expected to be built by 2016 to become a key link between Arctic resources and the main east and westbound pipeline routes.

The company said it expects to start shipments from new fields in the Yamal region in 2015. Its fields in the region are estimated to hold 5 billion barrels of oil.

TNK-BP's executive German Khan described in the statement co-operation between oil companies and state-owned Transneft as "one of the most important conditions for putting new fields into development and efficiently developing the abundant resources of the region."