Oil company exits Russian shelf

The Pechora Sea

The Sintez Group is about to sell its 50 percent stake in Arktikshelfneftegaz, the company which controls the license to the Medynsko-Varandey oil field in the Pechora Sea. State-owned Zarubezhneft is the most likely buyer of the stake.


Sintez, which in period 2006-2008 fought a hard battle against Russian authorities for the right to keep its offshore licenses, is now about to leave its last asset in the Russian Arctic shelf. After having lost the right to develop the Pakhtusov and Admiralty structures, the company looks set to sell out of the Medynsko-Varandey structure, which holds an estimated 410 million tons of oil.

Read also: Oil company remains in control of offshore licenses

Sintez controls 50 percent of Arktikshelfneftegaz, the license holder to the field. The remaining 50 percent is owned by the Federal Property Agency (Rosimushchestvo).

Both Zarubezhneft and Gazprom Neft have shown interest in Arktikshelfneftegaz, newspaper Kommersant reports. However, it is Zarubezhneft which is most likely to take over the 50 percent stake. According to Kommersant, Sintez and Zarubezhneft have already signed a confidential deal on the issue.

Zarubezhneft has long shown interest in engaging on the Russian shelf. With the takeover of Arktikshelfneftegaz, the company gets the shelf experiences necessary to be able to engage on the Russian shelf. According to Russian legislation, only companies with a minimum of five years of shelf experiences are allowed to hold offshore licenses and develop fields on the shelf.

For Zarubezhneft, the deal with the Sintez Group is thus a stepping stone into shelf projects. And the company is unlikely to leave it with only the Medynsko-Varandey structure. The company has reportedly already requested the state to give it the license to Madachagsky field, also that located in the Pechora Sea.