​BP and Rosneft to make $700mn deal despite sanctions – FT

Reuters / Stringer
Russian oil major Rosneft and BP are close to signing a $700 million deal for BP to acquire a 20 percent stake in the Taas-Yuriakh Siberian oilfield, reports the FT. The deal could be announced this week at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The introduction of EU sanctions against Russia hasn’t scared off the largest European companies, working in the fuel and energy sector, according to Financial Times.

Besides BP, Italy’s Eni and Norway's Statoil have already received governmental approval to continue working on joint projects with Rosneft. Shell continues to work with Gazprom Neft over the Salym project in the Siberian Khanty-Mansiysk area and is seeking Dutch government approval for other joint ventures.

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The news comes as the G7 claimed they are ready to extend sanctions last week. The announcement was also made just days prior to theSt. Petersburg International Economic Forum, dubbed the ‘Russian Davos’.

The heads of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total will visit the event which starts on Thursday. America’s Boston Consulting and Ernst & Young are also expected to attend, which could be a sign Washington and Brussels want dialogue with Moscow.

As EU sanctions are not so diehard as American, European companies with pre-existing contracts have a possibility to even expand their activities in Russia and don’t want to miss the opportunity, says James Henderson, senior fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

“European companies are finding ways and are certainly freer to do business than their US counterparts… US companies are going to be hugely disadvantaged as we go forward because EU sanctions are not retroactive and US ones are,” Henderson told the FT.

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"We stay out of the politics… We have a lot of experience in Russia … our commitment is to remain," BP CEO Bob Dudley told CNBC this month.

Statoil is planning to drill two wells with Rosneft at the onshore Siberian North Komsomolskoye field this summer, and two wells in the Okhotsk Sea on the edge of the Pacific in summer 2016.

Eni has not disclosed any plans, but the FT, referring to sources familiar with the situation, assume the Italians may continue work on a Black Sea license with Rosneft.