Uniqueness: Russia’s expanding its sphere of ocean influence

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Energy Development

Russia Expanding Energy Development now

Reed and Kramer, New York Times, 6/9/14

[Stanley, Andrew E., The New York Times, “For Western Oil Companies, Expanding in Russia Is a Dance Around Sanctions,” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/10/business/international/for-western-oil-companies-expanding-in-russia-is-a-dance-around-sanctions.html, accessed July 8, 2014, EK]

In a ceremony at the event, Mr. Duffin signed an agreement with Igor I. Sechin, the head of the state-owned Rosneft, to expand its joint ventures to drill offshore in the Arctic Ocean, to explore for shale oil in Siberia and to cooperate on a liquefied natural gas plant in Vladivostok.

The deal came just weeks after the United States government imposed sanctions on the personal dealings — though not the corporate activities — of Mr. Sechin, a former military intelligence agent and longtime aide to President Vladimir V. Putin.

David S. Cohen, pointing at center, runs the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which creates and administers the financial sanctions that the United States imposes on foreign governments.

Despite the push by Western governments to isolate Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine, energy giants are deepening their relationships with companies here by striking deals and plowing more money into the country.

Along with Exxon, BP of Britain and Total of France also signed contracts at the business forum in St. Petersburg to explore for shale oil in Russia. Exxon plans to drill its first exploratory well offshore in the Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean this summer. Statoil of Norway is in talks for another shale joint venture. Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, met with Mr. Putin in April and told him, “Now is the time to expand,” referring to a liquefied natural gas plant project.

The companies are taking a calculated risk, given the threat of further sanctions. But they also want to protect their long-term interests in Russia, the world’s largest energy-exporting nation.

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