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EU energy commissioner threatens Arctic oil exploration

23rd July 2014

Guenther Oettinger, EU energy commisioner, has used Russian plans for Arctic oil and gas exploration as a bargaining chip in negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine

EU energy commissioner threatens Arctic oil exploration
Russian and Western oil and gas companies have closely collaborated recently over development of Arctic oil and gas exploitation

"If they don't decisively try to do something to prevent escalation, then there is no reason for us to help promote the growth of their industry and develop new resources for gas and oil and therefore to put this equipment on the list of sanctions," Oettinger said in a news conference.

"The Russians see offshore oil and gas in the Arctic, for example, as a good potential for the future. But this can only be developed by hardware and software from the West, by drills and ... equipment that their industry cannot supply."

Russian and Western oil and gas companies have closely collaborated over development of Arctic oil and gas exploitation. In June, Rosneft and ExxonMobil completed a major exploration expedition into the Arctic to assess the region’s energy potential, and to fully grasp its environmental fragility.

Recent political developments, including sanction placed on some of Russia’s major oil and gas executives, have had little effect on energy and technology trade transfers, which both sides recognise as of major importance.

Russia is Europe’s chief supplier of energy and governments have up till now been wary of disrupting supplies or causing price hikes.

Over the past six months, Russia has increasingly diversified the focus of its oil and exports towards Asia, especially China, with Gazprom and CNPC signing a massive USD 400bn gas supply deal in May.

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