STATOIL & ROSNEFT PARTNERSHIP
STAVANGER, Norway— Statoil ASA has warned that Western countries' sanctions against Russia will slow down the process of gaining approval for some of the company's joint ventures with Russian oil group OAO Rosneft.
Norway's largest oil group said Monday that it will stand by its 27-month-old partnership with the state-controlled Russian company because it hopes diplomacy will resolve Russia's standoff with the U.S. and Europe over the crisis in Ukraine.
"This will be a more bureaucratic process, so that things will take more time," Statoil Chief Executive Helge Lund said in an interview at the Offshore Northern Seas energy conference.
Mr. Lund said not all of Statoil's joint-venture projects with Rosneft would be slowed down, as sanctions target mainly shale-, deep-water- and Arctic oil production. Statoil and its suppliers will have to apply for permission from Norwegian, European Union or U.S. authorities to export equipment and move forward with their plans, which might slow down projects, he said.
With Russia an important supplier of energy to Europe, especially natural gas, Mr. Lund said it is important to find diplomatic solutions to the crisis for energy trade to continue.
"Europe and Russia will be energy partners for many decades to come. That is fundamental," he said.
"We hope for a diplomatic solution, but of course [the imposition of sanctions] hasn't made it any easier for either Rosneft or companies working with that company and other Russian companies," Mr. Lund said. "But our aim is to continue the [Rosneft] partnership, and we hope for diplomatic solutions."
Statoil struck what it called a "milestone" cooperation deal with Rosneft in May 2012. The pact included joint onshore and offshore projects, such as licenses in the Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. In June 2013, Rosneft and Statoil were jointly awarded interests in the exploration license PL713 in the Norwegian Barents Sea, and the companies started to drill the Pingvin well earlier this month.
Mr. Lund didn't say whether Rosneft-Statoil projects in Norway would be affected by sanctions, but has previously told national media that they wouldn't, as the drilling was planned before sanctions took effect.
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