Shell and Gazprom join forces to explore new markets and Russia

Deal enables Gazprom to extend beyond Russia and Shell to penetrate Russian market

Shell has entered into a new agreement on "global cooperation" with its Russian rival Gazprom, thus paving the way for two of the world's biggest gas companies to deepen co¬operation in Russia and work together in other countries.

The deal was finalised in Moscow on Tuesday, almost four years after Russia forced Shell to cede control of its $22bn (£14bn) Siberian field, Sakhalin-2, to Gazprom. Alexei Miller, chief executive officer, Gazprom, signed the accord with his Shell counterpart, Peter Voser.

The agreement will allow Gazprom to take part in Shell's oil and gas production and exploration projects in third countries, and the two companies will also look at new joint projects in western Siberia and eastern Russia.

It also mentions "co-operation in the downstream oil products business in Russia and Europe, as well as Gazprom participation in Shell upstream projects outside of Russia."

The arrangement will enable Gazprom, which does not currently produce significant quantities of gas outside Russia, to develop its technical expertise, particularly on projects producing liquified natural gas while it gives Shell access to new reserves