Research vessel Akademik Fersman has been deployed to gather 10,000 kilometres of 2D seismic data over the Kashevarovsky, Lisyansky and Magadan-1 licences that are believed to hold up to 13.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent, the Barents Observer reported.
However, the Arctic waters of Okhotsk off Sakhalin Island are considered treacherous due to dense ice coverage and harsh weather conditions.
The jack-up drilling rig Kolskaya capsized in the area in 2011 during a fierce storm with the loss of 53 lives.
Statoil will also carry out exploration in the Perseevsky licence in the Barents Sea under its joint venture with Rosneft, in which it will hold a 33.33% stake and fund all prospecting costs.
Both ExxonMobil and Eni, which have similar Arctic exploration pacts with the Russian state oil company, have also started seismic work on their respective acreage.
Rosneft struck a further deal with Inpex of Japan earlier this year for joint exploration of the Magadan-2 and Magadan-3, also in the Sea of Okhotsk.