Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) executives had talks this week with Russia's government about a possibie Arctic exploration agreement in that country.

Russia has hinted that non-state companies could enter the region and explore for oil. Chevron, which hasn't been able to enter the Russian market as rivals Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), BP PLC (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (London: RDSA) have, would like a crack at the potentially huge reserves of oil in the Russian Arctic, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Your country has enormous reserves, and the absence of large projects in the Russian Federation is a big gap in our portfolio, Chevron's Russia chief, Andrew McGrahan, told Deputy Minister for Natural Resources Denis Khramov at a meeting, the Journal reported.

The meeting comes as favored presidential candidate Vladimir Putin in recent days said he would consider opening up Russia's reserves to non-state companies if he is returned to the presidency. Putin is now prime minister; Russia's presidential election is Sunday.

Under Russian law, only state companies can explore for oil in Arctic seas, but Putin told members of the presidential cabinet this week that he thinks the country's laws should be changed.

We have (previously) made a decision that only state-controlled companies may work offshore in the northern seas. This, in my view, is slightly constraining production development, Putin was quoted as saying by Russia's Interfax news agency.

Chevron, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, is based in San Ramon, Calif.