France's Total in shale deal with Russia's Lukoil

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — French energy company Total SA is hooking up with Russia's largest private oil company to explore and develop a huge Siberian shale oil field.

The deal signed Friday with Russia's Lukoil comes despite European and U.S. sanctions and anger over Russia's role in Ukraine's political crisis.

Total says in a statement that the two will set up a joint venture to develop the Bazhenov oil formation in western Siberia. It says Lukoil will have 51 percent of the venture and Total 49 percent.

The statement gives no value for the deal. The ITAR-Tass news agency quotes Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov as saying the companies will invest $120 million to $150 million.

France has been more cautious about sanctions against Russia than the United States or some European countries.