Skip to comments.Exxon Oil Rig Enters Uncharted Waters of Russian Political Storm
Posted on 07/21/2014 6:54:24 AM PDT by thackney
An ordinary, long-scheduled journey of an oil drilling rig into Arctic waters is turning into a major political exercise, attracting international scrutiny and creating a dilemma for ExxonMobil.
Exxon, the top U.S. oil major and the world's most valued oil company, is bringing the rig, called West Alpha, from Norway to the Russian Arctic. It is hoping for a major discovery in the Kara Sea with Russian partner Rosneft.
The journey has begun just as the United States has slapped the toughest sanctions yet on Russia, including on Rosneft, over escalating violence in Ukraine. Further sanctions are likely after the downing of a Malaysia Airlines' plane in eastern Ukraine.
The joint activity does not necessarily break the latest sanctions, but the rig's mission will be seen a sign that a top U.S. company is backing Moscow.
Arctic exploration costs can exceed hundreds of millions of dollars. The Exxon-Rosneft drilling campaign, therefore, will also show how effective the latest sanctions prove to be in prohibiting U.S. firms from providing new long-term debt or equity to Rosneft.
"It's a bit discordant with the message that the United States government is trying to send, having this long-planned summer drilling season go ahead right now," said Elizabeth Rosenberg, energy program director at the Center for a New American Security think-tank and a former sanctions adviser at the Treasury Department.
From a broader prospective, the project will indicate the resolve of major oil companies to continue dealing with Russia even as conflict escalates with the West.
"We are evaluating the impact of the sanctions and don't have anything further at this time," Exxon said in emailed comments.
For the Kremlin, the project will become a balancing act between achieving its goals of raising oil output and government revenue and the risk of pushing foreign partners...
(Excerpt) Read more at rigzone.com ...
but the rig’s mission will be seen a sign that a top U.S. company is backing Moscow
Exxon is probably just making good on a contractual commitment, not really “backing Moscow” as Reuters suggests. That statement is a real stretch.
Agreed. This was years in the making.
I second it. This was more or less a business decision, way before the horrible mess late last week.
Not to mention that, In the Soviet...err, Russia, they won’t have to deal with a mass of greenie lawsuits, bogus regulations and a shakedown by the U.S. Federal Govt.
Shakedown by Russia? Sure, but that’s just business....
I worked a gig cleaning up an oil spill on the arctic circle in the Komi Republic some years ago. It takes a strong gut and nerves of steel to do any kind of business ‘over there’.
This was published by Forbes right after Crimea and was also published by many media outlets.
It gives a few details as to what doors are being opened to Exxon in Russia and what doors are being opened to Rosneft in the US.