Sanctions no obstacle for Rosneft's deal with Norwegian Seadrill

West Phoenix is one of the rigs Rosneft got a share of. The 2008 built rig is designed for harsh environment and can drill deep to 3,ooo meters.

“This deal will allow Rosneft to acquire new unique expertise in operations in harsh climate conditions,” says Rosneft President Igor Sechin, a man listed on both the EU and the US sanctions lists.


The deal, announced a week after Norway copy-singed EU’s sanctions Russia, gives North Atlantic drilling a significant portion of Rosneft’s land drilling fleet in Russia with some 150 rigs.

North Atlantic Drilling is a majority owned subsidiary of Seadrill Limited.

In return, Rosneft gets a 30 percent stake in North Atlantic drilling, a company operating one drillship, three jack-ups and five semi-submersibles, including the rig “West Alpha” that currently is drilling for ExxonMobil and Rosneft in the Kara Sea.

The deal comes amidst tension between Russia and Western countries like Seadrill’s home Norway and U.S., where North Atlantic Drilling is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) since January this year. 

Rosneft highlights the potential the deal has for its Arctic drilling operations in a statement posted on Friday when the deal was made public.

“This deal will allow Rosneft to acquire new capabilities in the sphere of oilfield services, by engaging the best professionals, with unique expertise in operations in harsh climate conditions,” says Igor Sechin, President of Rosneft and well-known for being within the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors.

Sechin believes the deal with North Atlantic Drilling will notably strengthen Rosneft’s positions on the market of high-technology oilfield services alongside with other world’s sector leaders.

Rosneft is the world’s largest listed oil company and has long-term and large-scale exploration plans for Arctic offshore waters, including the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea.

Despite the political sanctions from Norway, the EU and the US aimed to make Moscow change its policy over Ukraine by putting economic pressure, Rosneft has got confirmations from both Norway’s Statoil and ExxonMobil that offshore Arctic drilling will continue.