“We have recently been given some approvals to move ahead with the technical aspects of the offshore joint venture in the Sea of Okhotsk,” Dodson said. “The plans are to have the first drilling there in 2016.”
In March 2015, Norwegian authorities gave Statoil the go-ahead to conduct joint projects with after determining they are in compliance with Western sanctions against Russia, which targeted Rosneft in 2014. Exploration in the Okhotsk Sea will reportedly be limited to acreage that is not subject to the sanctions.
“We have to be particularly mindful how we move forward in order to be compliant with those sanctions,” Dodson said.
Dodson also noted that the sanctions have directly impacted some of Statoil’s joint ventures with Rosneft, and have indirectly affected all of the projects.
Statoil and Rosneft had previously agreed on four offshore projects to explore and produce oil on the Russian continental shelf in the Barents Sea and Okhotsk Sea close to the Arctic Circle. Additionally, the two companies had agreed on two joint onshore cooperation projects.
“Our intention is to continue with the contracts we have, the joint ventures, as long as we comply with the sanctions that are in place,” Dodson said.
In 2014, Norway upheld economic sanctions that the European Union and the United States imposed on the Russian energy sector over Moscow's alleged role in the Ukraine crisis. The restrictions targeted Rosneft and its affiliates, among other Russia-based companies, and prevented them from raising capital overseas.