Lund warns of possible Russia delays

Possible delays: Due to Russian measures, Statoil CEO Helge Lund warned at ONS

Statoil’s activities in Russia may be delayed because of the international sanctions imposed by the European Union and other nations as a response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, according to chief executive Helge Lund.

The Norwegian company in 2012 signed an agreement with Rosneft for exploration of four offshore blocks in the Russian Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, as well as two onshore assets.

“Some of our activities will be affected by this,” Lund said on the day of the ONS conference in Stavanger on Monday.

"We and our suppliers have to apply for permits before we can do the job. This will at least lead to delays in some areas, things may take more time.”

The US and EU have imposed tough sanctions on Russia’s oil, banking, defence and technology industries, as well as travel bans and asset freezes on key individuals linked to the Kremlin, as a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and alleged backing for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia has retaliated by banning Western food imports.

Statoil is working with Norwegian authorities, suppliers and Rosneft to find ways of continuing the co-operation within the framework of the sanctions, Lund said, adding that many of the possible consequences remain uncertain.

“Our aim is for the co-operation to continue,” Lund said.

"Europe and Russia will be energy partners for many decades ahead, so from an energy point of view it is important that one finds diplomatic solutions.”

The 2012 agreement with Rosneft also covered co-operation offshore Norway, aiming to bring in the Russian player as a partner in licences on the Norwegian continental shelf.

As a first step, Rosneft has taken a 20% interest in production licence 713 in the Barents Sea, where operator Statoil last week spudded a wildcat at the Pingvin prospect. The licence lies north of the Johan Castberg discovery.

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