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Norway's Statoil Says Business as Usual in Russia

Source: Reuters 4/14/2014, Location: Asia

Statoil is pushing on with all its projects in Russia, despite the uncertainty of the Crimea crisis, and still expects to drill a new well there this year, a senior executive at the Norwegian oil group said.

Statoil has several joint projects with Russia's largest oil company Rosneft, including deals to explore for oil and gas in Siberia and above the Arctic Circle, as well as shale oil in the south of the country.

Lars Christian Bacher, head of development and production international, said Statoil would go ahead with plans to drill one well with Rosneft this year and two in 2015 at the North-Komsomolskoye heavy oil discovery in west Siberia.

"Our relationships with Rosneft have been good from day one. They are still good. It has been a very professional, business-like relationship. The activities we have on the plate are continuing as before," Bacher told Reuters.

Statoil is one of the select few international oil companies with a deal to explore for oil in Russia, along with ExxonMobil and Italy's Eni.

It also has technology to explore for oil and gas in the Arctic, which Russian companies crave, and is currently the only company to operate an Arctic liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal.

Outside Russia, Statoil is working together with Lukoil in the Norwegian Arctic.

Companies around the world are reviewing their business in Russia after United States and EU sanctions were imposed on people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed further sanctions, should Russia take any further action in Ukraine. Media have reported Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin could feature in any future list.

"Whatever happens in Russia, and sanctions related to Russia in the future, we just need to comply with international sanctions," said Bacher, who met Sechin in Oslo earlier this month to discuss their various joint projects.

"We just need to adapt to that. It is obvious it would hurt with what we have in Russia today. That is a given."

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