Statoil moves into new troubled waters
Only few months after it announced its partnership agreement with Rosneft, the Norwegian oil major starts preparing for the exploration of some of Russia’s most complex Arctic waters.
As the company’s troublesome involvement in the Shtokman project comes to a halt, the establishment of four joint ventures with Rosneft marks the start of a new era in the Norwegian company’s Russian engagement.
The agreements signed by Statoil CEO Helge Lund and Rosneft’s Igor Sechin at the ONS conference last week includes the exploration of four major hydrocarbon structures, the Perseevky field in the Barents Sea and the Kashevarovsky, Lisyansky and Magadan 1 in the Sea of Okhotsk.
The agreements follow up the partnership deal announced in early May this year.
Statoil will have a 33,33 percent stake in all the joint ventures and take on all costs for exploration. According to newspaper Kommersant, the price tag for Norwegian part of the deal will be up to $950 million, most of which will be spent in the Okhotsk projects. The four offshore structures hold total resources estimated to about 3.3 million tons of oil equivalents.
Speaking at the ONS conference, Rosneft leader Igor Sechin stressed that “the pace at which this agreement with Statoil is being implemented instills us with confidence and means we can say that all of the companies' obligations within the joint venture will be fulfilled on time and in strict compliance with environmental regulations”.
Rosneft has a similar high pace in its cooperation with Eni and ExxonMobil. Agreements on the establishment of joint ventures with Eni were signed on 21 June. In the Kara Sea, Rosneft and ExxonMobil are already about to announce tenders on the construction of vessels and drilling facilities.
However, the Rosneft-Statoil partnership might ultimately prove even more complicated that Rosneft’s partnerships with ENI and ExxonMobil. Russian experts argue to Kommersant that the Okhotsk waters are more complex that the waters in both the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea.
And in the Barents Sea, Statoil will have to battle with the ice at the Perseevsky field, a structure which stretches into extreme parts of the Arctic ocean.