Russian breakthrough on Norwegian shelf

Jun 12, 2013 12:00 AM

The massive opening of the Barents Sea for the oil industry includes invitations to Russia’s two powerful Russian petroleum companies, the first ever Russian companies on the Norwegian shelf.

According to the announcement made by Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Boe, Rosneft and its Norwegian subsidiary RN Nordic gets 20 percent of one license in the Barents Sea. The license (No 713) will be operated by Statoil (40%) and include also Edison (20%) and North (20%).

Lukoil, meanwhile, gets stakes in two licenses, among them 20 percent in license No 708, the easternmost blocks offered in the round. In addition, the company gets 30 percent in license No 719, an area located in the central part of the Norwegian Barents Sea. The company, Russia’s biggest privately owned oil producer, will have to work with the companies Lundin, Edison, North and Centrica in the projects.

A total of 24 licenses were offered in the round, of them 20 in the Barents Sea. A total of 29 companies got stakes in the licenses, of them 14 with operator responsibility.   

“We are now preparing the ground for a long-term and good exploration of our northernmost waters, both in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea”, Minister Ola Borten Moe says in a press release. “This will contribute to further growth and employment both in the North and in the rest of the country”, he adds.

Both Rosneft and Lukoil have over the last years shown increasing interest in the Norwegian Arctic waters and have formed alliances with Norwegian companies. The new license rights to Rosneft subsidiary RN Nordic are granted as part of the company’s comprehensive cooperation with Statoil. The two companies in May 2012 signed an agreement, which gives Statoil a 33 percent stake in several Russian fields, among them the huge Perseevsky structure in the northern part of the Barents Sea. Rosneft is also cooperating closely with Eni, the Italian company, in the Fedynsky field and Tsentralno Barentsevo structures, areas which are believed to hold a total of more than 25 billion barrels of oil equivalents.

Eni in the new Norwegian round got operator responsibility in three Barents Sea licenses and stakes in another four.

Lukoil was soon to announce its interest in the Norwegian Arctic waters following the Norwegian-Russian Barents Sea border delimitation agreement in 2011. The company subsidiary Lukoil Overseas in 2012 opened a Norwegian office and the same year signed cooperation agreements  with Det norske, Lundin Petroleum and North Energy. The two Norwegian license constellations are likely to be seen as a major victory for the company, which is blocked from taking part in field development in Russian waters.

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