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These are Seadrill’s new Russian assets

Drilling rigs on the Nenets tundra could be among the installations now acquired by the North Atlantic Drilling Ltd

The Norwegian drilling company is taking over a share of Russia’s most polluting industry as part of its new comprehensive deal with oil major Rosneft.

The agreement signed by the North Atlantic Drilling company (NADL), a subsidiary of Seadrill, and Rosneft includes the take-over of 150 land drilling rigs in Russia. With those rigs, the Norwegian company takes a big step into one of Russia’s most polluting industry.

As previously reported by BarentsObserver, Rosneft has for years been the dirtiest oil company in Russia. A 2012 report from the Russian Environmental Control Agency (Rosprirodnadzor) shows that the state-owned company is a major polluter in the Khanti-Mansiisk region, Russia’s top oil producing province. In 2011, the company had a total of 2727 registered spills in the region, which amounts to 75 percent of all cases reported.

In a comment on the report, environmental organization Bellona said Rosneft has a ”dismal environmental record”. ”They clearly have no regard for the Russian environment,” said Bellona President Frederic Hauge said in 2012.   

Many of the 150 rigs now acquired by NADL are likely to have caused environmental harm in their respective area of production.

The rigs are all in active service, and many of them are likely to be operating in Rosneft’s key production areas like Western Siberia and the Timan Pechora province. The value of the rigs is estimated to $750 million, Oilru.com reports.

The deal inked on 22 August this year gives Rosneft a 30 percent stake in NADL. The agreement follows a deal from July according to which Rosneft will hire six of NADL’s drilling rigs for exploration in Arctic waters. 

One of the NADL rigs, the ”West Alpha” is already involved the drilling of the University-1 well in the Kara Sea.

NADL has a total of nine drilling units, including five semi-submersibles, a drillship, and three jack-up rigs. Until now, Seadrill Limited has controlled 70 percent of the outstanding shares.