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Statoil courts Rosneft

Jan Helge Skogen, President of Statoil Russia

OSLO: The Norwegian oil major is eager to join the development of huge offshore fields in Russia´s Arctic. But first it wants tax breaks from Moscow.

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Talking at this week´s Intsok conference in Oslo, President of Statoil Russia, Jan Helge Skogen underlined his company´s ambitions to work with oil and gas companies “beyond the Shtokman field.”

Statoil is well positioned to take part in unlocking the energy resources on the Russian shelf”, Skogen stressed in his presentation.

The company, which is considered world leading within offshore production, is already actively engaging in several Arctic projects. The recent discoveries of new fields in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea, as well as the delimitation of the Norwegian-Russian waters in the region, is now gradually turning the Barents Barents Sea into a top priority area, not only for Statoil, but also for several other big oil companies.

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Rosneft is the key target of Statoil´s flirts. The state-owned company recently secured control over several promising licenses in the area, and now seems to be the most likely operator of potentially huge field structures on the Russian side of the new delimitation line.

As BarentsObserver commented already in 2010, the Norwegian and Russian authorities in the delimitation agreement for the Barents Sea clearly signal a preference of state-owned companies. That paves the floor for Rosneft and Statoil. 

“60.000 new jobs”
In his presentation at the Intsok conference, Mr. Skogen highlighted potentially huge implications from offshore hydrocarbon field developments on the social and economic situation in the nearby territories. According to a new study commissioned by the company, the Shtokman field could alone create as many as 60.000 new jobs annually. Shtokman would contribute with as much as 0,7 percent of the Russian GDP every year, Skogen maintained.

Tax breaks
However, despite the bright prospects, Statoil will not yet start spending real money in the Russian waters. According to the company, the current Russian tax regime makes fields like Shtokman financially not feasible. A new fiscal framework for offshore project is needed, the leader of Statoil Russia underlined.

He is likely to get only partly what he wants. In his speech at the same conference, Denis Khramov, Russian Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, indicated that there will be no tax breaks on the shelf, only other kinds of tax benefits. The same position was voiced this week by Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov. In a comment, Shatalov said that the Shtokman project will get tax exemptions, but that it remains unclear exactly which , Bloomberg reports.