Maersk Interested in Oil, Port Projects in Russia

MOSCOW (Dow Jones Newswires), June 21, 2011

Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk is considering participation in offshore oil service projects in Russia's Arctic region, the company's Chief Executive Nils S. Andersen has said.

"We would be interested in entering the oil service sector in Russia," Andersen told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

He also reiterated Maersk's commitment to keep spending high on oil exploration projects in the North Sea, Angola, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico.

"We have spent around $1 billion a year in the last three years searching for oil, and we continue to explore at a high level," Andersen said.

Maersk could be interested in joining Russian oil and gas projects, not only as a service contractor, but possibly as a partner in upstream projects.

"I won't exclude there are possibilities of joining upstream projects in Russia," Andersen said. "There are a number of international players over here. The possibilities are huge, but at the moment we have no concrete plans."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with the Maersk CEO in April at the company's headquarters in Copenhagen during an official visit to Denmark.

Russian state-controlled oil producer Rosneft is seeking to unlock vast energy reserves in its Arctic waters. Earlier this month, Rosneft's chief executive, Eduard Khudainatov, mentioned Maersk alongside Norway's Statoil as possible partners in the Arctic.

During Putin's visit, investments in Russian ports were discussed.

"We are looking at investing in port terminals in Russia," S. Andersen said. "Our primary interest is in the gateways in the Gulf of Finland, the Black Sea and Russia's Far East.

Maersk, the biggest shipping company to and from Russia, owns a strip of land in the Kaliningrad port area on the Baltic Sea.

"We also have an option in Kaliningrad, but whether or not we will make use of it will depend on market developments," he said.

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