The move, which comes in spite of sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, will see initial exploration taking place in the Norwegian Barents Sea.

The Russian state firm confirmed that operations had started, releasing a statement saying:

“the start of these exploration operations marks an important milestone in developing the cooperation between Rosneft and Statoil,”

Norway has joined the action against Moscow by introducing economic restrictions in light of the perceived action by Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, has also been subject to tough sanctions.

Russia has hit back with an embargo on European food imports.

This saw Rosneft see its access to international funding restricted – with it having to go to the Kremlin for a $42bn loan last week. The firm has also been hit by the sanctions imposing a ban on deep water exploration equipment and technology.

However, the move by Statoil, and British firm BP’s insistence that it will not drop its 20% stake in Rosneft, shows that international cooperation is still in place at some levels.

The latest deal also comes weeks after Rosneft announced another cross-border partnership – this time a tie-up with US oil giant ExxonMobil. The partnership will see the exploration of potential oil fields located along the Siberian northern coast.

Posted by Wealth & Finance International

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