On Feb. 17, Rosneft Brazil, a subsidiary of Russia’s largest oil company, reported plans to drill its first oil well in Brazil. The project will be in cooperation with the American company Schlumberger and Brazil’s Queiroz Galvao Oleo e Gas (QGOG).
Schlumberger, which specializes in oilfield services, in the past worked with Rosneft in Russia, but the company pulled out after the U.S. government hit Russia with sanctions in 2014.
Rosneft’s goal for the Brazil project is not so much to acquire oil, but to strengthen relations with Schlumberger and to learn new techniques for extracting oil and gas in difficult environmental conditions, said Igor Yushkov, a senior analyst at the National Energy Security Fund.
“Rosneft is interested in acquiring the knowledge to develop difficult fields, for example, drilling on deep-sea platforms,” said Yushkov, adding that comparable technologies can be used on platforms in the Black Sea and the Arctic.
The Brazil project will benefit all parties, said VTB 24 analyst, Oleg Dushin. He points out that Rosneft will also gain an operator status in Brazil, and thus, it will be able to participate in bids for the acquisition of offshore oil fields, as well as for assets owned by Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company.
“For its part, Brazil will gain a partner that can help work in inaccessible regions such as the upper Amazon,” said Dushin.
In the current political context, Russian companies can continue to work with foreign companies in third-party countries, said Yushkov. In autumn 2014, Western companies froze their stakes in Russian oil projects due to the imposition of sanctions following the outbreak of civil strife in Ukraine. Statoil, Eni and ExxonMobil, for example, shelved projects to develop the Arctic shelf in conjunction with Russia.