State-owned Gazprom’s oil division Gazprom Neft, in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell [NYSE: RDS], has begun drilling for shale oil in western Siberia as the company looks to jump on the bandwagon of unconventional energy sources . . . the Bazhenov geographic formation, which at 463,000 square miles covers more territory than France and Spain combined, is estimated to possess more than eight million metric tons of shale oil . . . company CEO Aleksey Miller recently said, “Gazprom is really interested in shale oil exploration. We do intend to actively develop in this direction” . . . Gazprom is worried it could be left behind international efforts to take advantage of shale oil and gas if it fails to begin exploration for its own domestic deposits in Siberia . . . Moscow wants to ensure it can boost shale oil and gas production, especially as it looks to target expanded sales of oil and natural gas to Asian markets.