The latest European sanctions against Russia will forbid EU countries to export equipment that could help Russian oil drilling, but a Norwegian shipping magnate is helping Russian oil companies skirt the rules.
The European Union announced some of the toughest Russian sanctions yesterday, cutting off access to equipment made for deepwater and arctic oil production, along with other restrictions on arms and financing, set to take effect tomorrow. Nowary is not a member of the E.U.
However, Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE:SDRL) will go through with plans to lease six rigs from its North Atlantic Drilling unit to Russian oil giant OAO Rosneft (LON:ROSN) through a subsidiary company, North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. (NYSE:NADL). Since the $4.25 billion contract was inked on July 29, it’s not subject to sanctions that take effect as soon as tomorrow.
Both companies are controlled by John Fredriksen, a Norway-born Cypriot citizen whose nickname is "Viking King," according to Bloomberg. He’s been working in the oil trade since the 1960s and ran crude for Iran in the 1980s before he got into the drilling business with Seadrill in 2005, according to Forbes.
North Atlantic Drilling announced its intentions in May, with plans to develop Rosneft’s projects until 2022.
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“We are very pleased with the execution of these contracts, which is in line with the timetable agreed to earlier this year,” Alf Ragnar Lovdal, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company’s chief executive officer, said on Wednesday.
The most recent sanctions from the U.S. on Russia are meant to “impose additional significant costs on the Russian government for its continued activities in Ukraine,” by targeting the banking, energy and arms sectors, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Tuesday.