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Friday, 19 September 2014 16:19

Exxon and "Rosneft" to stop offshore drilling in the Arctic due to sanctions

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Exxon Mobile and "Rosneft" to stop exploratory drilling offshore in the Kara Sea in the well, "University-1" in connection with the introduction of Russian oil companies against the EU sanctions and the United States, according to Bloomberg.

Joint project of Exxon Mobile and "Rosneft" - drilling at the northernmost well Russia, "University-1" in the Kara Sea - August 9, 2014 launched the President Vladimir Putin of Sochi teleconference. Capacity field is estimated at 9 billion barrels.

European sanctions imposed on September 12 limited Russian oil not only access to financial resources, but also to technology and equipment to work in the Arctic, deepwater drilling and production of shale oil. Simultaneously, the EU imposed sanctions and the United States, and with a more strongly worded, so the suspension of joint drill in the Kara Sea was expected: after the announcement of new sanctions from Exxon was two weeks - until September 26, - to collapse the job. Ministry of Finance of the United States has banned American firms to provide five Russian companies, including "Rosneft", any goods, services (other than financial) and technologies, if they are to be used in the Arctic, deep water or oil shale projects. In particular, it is no longer possible to provide drilling, geophysical, geological, and logistics management services.

Representatives of "Rosneft" refused to comment on the situation. But earlier, after the second wave of economic restrictions by the EU, the president of "Rosneft" Igor Sechin said that the decision to include the oil companies on the sanctions list is "unreasonable, subjective and illegal due to the lack of role in the crisis in Ukraine." A little later, the head of "Rosneft" appealed to the government for financial assistance in the amount of 1.5 trillion rubles. September 10 "Rosneft" reported that the government is ready to help in terms of sanctions, but it is not defined as - money from the National Welfare Fund, or otherwise. "We have received a positive response, we will help" - then said RBC vice-president of "Rosneft" Mikhail Leontiev, referring to the statement by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

At the time of publication Exxon representative did not respond to a request to RBC. Earlier, Speaker Exxon Dick Keil told Bloomberg, that the company "is still studying the sanctions and their implications, but will comply with all requirements of law and rules." According to Reuters, Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi confirmed likely to stop drilling in the Kara Sea. "I have received information that the drilling may have stopped," - he said. In this case, the question of journalists, whether the termination is related intelligence on the shelf with the sanctions of the EU and the United States, the minister said that with "high probability" is such a connection.

According to the teacher Petroleum Engineering and Applied Geophysics, Norwegian University Sigberna Sangeslanda drilling stopped in advance of the designated period in terms of sanctions, to ensure safe shutting in the well - the company must install the plug and close the valve on the well.

New EU sanctions and the United States aimed at oil and gas companies, in contrast to previous restrictive measures will lead to financial losses for Western companies. Estimated deputy director of investment company "Univer Capital" Dmitry Alexandrov, Exxon losses from a new wave of sanctions will be about $ 1.5-2 billion. "Major blow to Russian companies from these sanctions - it lost profit from the lack of debt financing, as well as to supply high-tech equipment for exploration and drilling, "- said the expert.

In addition, sanctions, according to Bloomberg, will suffer and other Western companies with business interests in Russia - Total, Statoil and BP.

ExxonMobil tried to pursue his great program of cooperation with "Rosneft" in the Russian Arctic in spite of recent political events. In May - a month after the head of "Rosneft" Igor Sechin in the sanctions list of the US Treasury - Exxon representatives arrived at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, and signed a number of agreements. In June, the head of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, spoke at the World Petroleum Congress in Moscow, where Sechin also took part. Exxon had no right to enter into agreements with Sechin after he was hit by sanctions, it became clear in August of further clarification, the Ministry of Finance USA. The sanctions prohibit the transaction to which the blocked person, even if that person is acting on behalf of the company unlocked. Thus, either Exxon violated the sanctions legislation, or has received from the American authorities a special permit.

Press office of ExxonMobil during the action of the "Russian" sanctions has repeatedly stated that full compliance with the law.

In early August, the United States and the European Union banned the export to Russia of sensitive technologies for oil projects in the Arctic, but this did not prevent Exxon August 9 to begin exploratory drilling in the Kara Sea in conjunction with "Rosneft". On the platform at that time were Sechin and the head of ExxonMobil Russia Glenn Waller, and Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a start drilling by teleconference from Sochi. European and American officials have been irritated by this step as Exxon run counter to the "spirit" of the sanctions, told Bloomberg, people familiar with the discussions on sanctions against Russia. After that sanctions were tightened so that ExxonMobil no longer had any loopholes.

Well, "University-1» Exxon and "Rosneft" planned to drill until October, still allows the ice conditions. The seabed in this place is at a depth of 80 m, the well is to be drilled to a depth of 2.35 km. Drilling work is semi-submersible West Alpha, the company leased in Bermuda North Atlantic Drilling («daughter» company Seadrill, with which "Rosneft" long-term relationship). "Rosneft" and Exxon planned to drill up to 40 exploration wells on the Russian shelf by the end of 2018, says Bloomberg. Exxon owns 33% of the joint venture "Karmorneftegaz", which is working in the Kara Sea, and will cover most of the costs of exploration ("University 1" cost the company more than $ 600 million).

Vladislav Gordeev, Asya Sotnikov, Ivan Tkachev

Source: http://top.rbc.ru/economics/19/09/2014/950107.shtml

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