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Russians want access to Norwegian oil

Illustration: Lukoil-Komi

Russian oil giant Lukoil has applied for a pre-qualification as operator on the Norwegian shelf.

The application from Russia’s largest private oil company came in just before Christmas and is now under consideration by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the Ministry of Labour, Teknisk Ukeblad writes.

This is the first time a Russian company has applied to be pre-qualified as an operator on the Norwegian Shelf since the system was introduced in 2000. In the process, companies that wish to enter the Norwegian shelf are evaluated according to their competence within the petroleum trade, organization, financial capacities and HSE-competence.

Lukoil has 150 000 employees and is the biggest company ever to apply for prequalification in Norway.

According to expert on Russia Arild Moe at the Fridtjof Nansen’s Institute, Lukoil is pursuing growth outside of Russia since, in practice, only the two state companies Rosneft and Gazprom are given access to offshore fields on the Russian shelf. – Lukoil feels confined in Russia, he says and adds that Lukoil might use an operatorship in Norway to put pressure on the disputed Russian legislation:

- It would be absurd if Lukoil was given the right to operate on the Norwegian side of the Barents Sea, at the same time as it is excluded from the Russian side.

It normally takes two-three months to consider these applications, Teknisk Ukeblad writes.