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Lukoil’s path to Arctic waters goes through Norway

A delegation of high-ranking Lukoil representatives is this week going to Oslo to discuss cooperation in the Barents Sea.

Russia’s second biggest oil company is teaming up with Norwegian partners in its bid for oil fields in the Barents Sea. President of Lukoil Overseas Andrei Kuzaev will this week meet with representatives of the Norwegian government and oil industry, Biznes Tass reports.

Lukoil has reportedly formed three alliances with Norwegian companies, all of them aimed at participating in the upcoming 22nd lincensing round. The tender includes 86 blocks, of which 72 are in the Barents Sea.

Lukoil in 2011 prequalified for operations on the Norwegian shelf and subsequently opened an office in the country. Lukoil became the first Russian company prequalified for shelf activities in Norway.

The company, the biggest privately owned oil producer in Russia, has for years worked for the right to operate offshore fields in the Russian Arctic. Although a liberalization of the Russian regulations now might be in the pipeline, Lukoil is still kept out of the list of eligible shelf operators. Only state-controlled companies with a minimum of five years of offshore experience are allowed to engage on the shelf, a regulation which gives Rosneft and Gazprom a monopoly position.

When the Norwegian-Russian border delimitation agreement in the Barents Sea came into effect in 2011, Lukoil soon announced its interest in the newly opened Arctic waters. The company now reiterates that it is first of all are the fields located along the border to Russia, which are of interest, and that it will participate not only in this year’s license round, but also in the round in 2014-2015. 

After several years of stagnating production, Lukoil is stepping up its investments in exploration and new production. In the first half of 2012, production dropped two percent compared with 2011 figures, the company informs in a press release. The company's oil production in Russia in the period amounted to 41,8 million tons. An additional 2,9 million tons were produced in projects abroad.

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