President Vladimir Putin has made it more difficult for international energy industry players to exit their Russian ventures or sell their assets or subsidiaries.
Under a decree published Wednesday, the change of shareholders in such ventures and subsidiaries will only become possible with prior permission from the Kremlin. The rule applies to almost 200 Russian-registered companies.
The document sets no deadlines or clear guidelines on how such permission can be obtained.
Newly passed restrictions are linked to another list that Putin rubber-stamped earlier this year, according to the document.
The list contains what the Russian government describes as “unfriendly countries” — the 49 states that have introduced sanctions against Russia, its government-owned corporations and related individuals, in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Apparently compiled over the past few months, the new list contains Russian ventures and subsidiaries of all major international oilfield service providers and US and European oilfield equipment and pump producers that were operating in Russia before the invasion.
The list includes multinational corporations such as Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Weatherford, together with specialist drillers Bentec Drilling & Oilfield Systems and KCA Deutag of Germany.
Local affiliates of Wellbore Integrity Solutions, NOV (National Oilwell Varco) and Parker Wellbore of the US are also listed, among others.
Besides international oilfield service providers, Russian subsidiaries and ventures of Germany’s Siemens Energy were also cited.
During the past northern hemisphere summer, Russian authorities and the nation’s gas giant, Gazprom, blamed Siemens Energy for failing to deliver a reworked gas-fired turbine to the Nord Stream 1 compressor station, and said sanctions prevented the company from carrying out regular maintenance on other turbines.
That, according to Russian authorities, forced Gazprom to shut down gas flows via the pipeline to Europe in August over safety concerns, a move that has been blamed for an unprecedented jump in European gas prices in the third quarter of this year and multibillion dollar losses at some European utilities.
Most of the international companies and subsidiaries on the list released statements soon after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, saying they were ceasing all new investments in Russia and would work on divesting their assets in the country.
However, some of the drillers and their subsidiaries, such as Eurasia Drilling — which works with oil producer Lukoil — and Eriell — a contractor with gas independent Novatek and oil producer Gazprom Neft — are owned either by Russian nationals or companies from countries outside the scope of so-called “unfriendly states”.
Last week, Putin issued a special decree permitting Baker Hughes to sell its vast Russian assets to a group of its three Moscow-based executives.
However, no decree was apparently needed for an earlier deal in which Halliburton transferred its Russian ventures to a group of local executives.
These executives will now require permission from the Kremlin if they decide to sell former Baker Hughes and Halliburton holdings under their control, it is understood.
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