Rosneft invites competitors to Russian-Norwegian waters

Rosneft invites companies to joint drilling in the Barents Sea. Here from the company's engagement in the Far East. Photo:

State-owned Rosneft wants Russian and international oil companies to team up as partners in field licenses in the Barents Sea.


Company leader Eduard Khudaynatov confirms that partnership invitations to 12 offshore projects, among them in the formerly disputed part of the Barents Sea, have been sent to Lukoil, TNK-BP, Surgutneftegaz and Bashneft.

He also confirms that similar invitations have been sent to several foreign companies, but does not want to mention the name of these, RIA Novosti reports.

Khudaynatov admits that the invitations are sent “on the request of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin”. As previously reported, Rosneft was one of several Russian companies which last week were invited the government White House to discuss offshore development.

Several of the licenses in question are in the Barents Sea, in the area, which until July 2011 were closed for all offshore petroleum activities because of the unsettled border dispute beteeen Russia and Norway. The delineation agreement signed and ratified in 2010-2011 opened the area for activities, and Rosneft was soon granted several of the best pieces of the highly perspective zone.

Among the foreign companies invited to the Barents Sea projects, is likely to be Norway’s state-controlled Statoil, which from before is heavily engaged in the region. The delimitation agreement between Russian and Norway in detail regulates oil and gas activities in the formerly disputed area and outlines a special role for both Statoil and Rosneft in cases where the fields structures stretch across the border

Commenting on the 12 fields included in the partnership invitation, Khudaynatov stressed that he is offering “the very best and richest” in the company’s licence portefolio.

Among the key domestic targets of the invitation is Lukoil, which repeatedly has expressed discomfort with Rosneft’s and Gzprom’s monopoly position on the Arctic shelf. The company, among the top three in Russian oil industry, is, despite restrictions on the Russian side, increasingly positioning itself for Arctic shelf engagements. As previously reported, the company in 2011 got the Norwegian government’s approval for engagements on the Norwegian shelf. The company management has itself confirmed that the delimitation of the disputed waters in the Barents Sea and the huge untapped reserves in the area is what makes it look to Norway.