MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) -Western sanctions against Russia stemming from the Ukrainian crisis will slow down the realization of various joint ventures between Statoil, Norway’s largest oil company, and Russia’s Rosneft, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
"This will be a more bureaucratic process, so that things will take more time," Statoil Chief Executive Helge Lund said.
However, Lund stated that Russia remains an important European business partner, with Russia as a major energy supplier to the European Union.
"Europe and Russia will be energy partners for many decades to come. That is fundamental," Lund said.
“Our aim is to continue the [Rosneft] partnership, and we hope for diplomatic solutions," Lund added.
According to the Norwegian businessman, the sanctions mainly target shale oil, deep-water oil and Arctic oil production.
In May 2012, Statoil signed a cooperation deal with Rosneft that included joint onshore and offshore projects, including licenses in the Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.
In June 2013, Rosneft and Statoil were jointly awarded stakes in the exploration of Norwegian waters in the Barents Sea.
Lund had previously said that the project in Norway would not be affected by the sanctions, as the drilling was initiated before the measures went into effect.
This year, the European Union, the United States and other Western countries imposed sanctions against Russian companies, banks and politicians, as well as the financial, energy and defense sectors of Russia’s economy over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis.
Moscow has repeatedly called the measures counterproductive and denied any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
In August, Russia introduced protective measures banning the import of agricultural and food products from countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia for a year.