Putin praises Exxon as Arctic drilling starts

|By:, SA News Editor

Vladimir Putin lauded Russia's "old and reliable partner" Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) this weekend in a ceremony launching the start of drilling the country's northernmost oil well.

Putin, XOM Russian chief Glenn Waller and Rosneft (OTC:RNFTF) CEO Igor Sechin, undeterred by the crisis in U.S.-Russian relations, together welcomed the start of the Arctic well in the first step in a quest for new energy resources to help maintain oil production near a post-Soviet high of more than 10M bbl/day.

Universitetskaya is the first of as many as 40 offshore wells Rosneft plans by 2018 to test the potential of the unexplored Arctic Ocean.