Rosneft buys time in Arctic

Igor Sechin is getting behind schedule in Arctic waters.

The company gets a 3-year time extension in seven Arctic offshore licenses.

Russian state mineral agency Rosnedra has given the oil company more breathing space in seven of its most complex licenses. The license terms of the Pomorsky, Yuzhno-Prinovozemelsky, Severo-Pomorsky 1 and Severo-Pomorsky 2, as well as the Zapadno-Matveevsky structure, will be up to three years extended, the agency decides.

Rosneft originally applied for a postponement in 10 licenses, Interfax reports.

At the same time, the state-owned company confirms that it is postponing planned well drilling operations in the area. A second drilling at the University-1 (Pobeda) field will be not be conducted in 2015. Similarly, the drilling at a new Kara Sea structure, originally scheduled for 2017, will most likely be delayed, newspaper Vedomosti reports.

A source close to the mineral agency says to the newspaper that Rosneft is not ready to follow up its Arctic drilling program without participation from ExxonMobil. Drilling in the region might be postponed with several years, the source says.

Rosneft in 2014 completed a historical drilling operation in the Kara Sea, which lead to the discovery of more than 130 million tons of oil at the “Pobeda”. That operation was part of the comprehensive partnership agreement between the companies.