Russian gas independent Novatek is making a splash in Arctic offshore exploration after agreeing a deal to form a joint venture with compatriot oil giant Gazprom Neft.

The pair will jointly explore and potentially develop the North Vrangelevsky block, which lies north-west of Wrangel Island between the East Siberian and Chukotka seas.

The block covers more than 117,000 square kilometres, with Gazprom Neft having collected mostly 2D seismic data since 2014.

Water depths at the block vary between 40 and 200 metres, with the pair expected to require Chinese semi-submersible rigs for any drilling.