Gazprom Neft CEO Says Russian Oil Company Could Look Eastward if Sanctions


ST PETERSBURG, Russia, April 7 (Reuters) – Gazprom Neft has not been affected by Western sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea but is ready to move away from dollars in its contracts and to redirect oil flows to Asia if needed, the CEO of Gazprom's oil arm said.

Alexander Dyukov told reporters that Western banks are unlikely to stop cooperating with Gazprom Neft and that Western oil majors do not want geopolitical tension to affect their partnerships, but said the company is prepared to step up contacts with Asian lenders and also raise money in Russia.

Kremlin-backed executives have defiantly voiced confidence their companies can cope with any sanctions imposed during the biggest standoff between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

The United States and European Union have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on allies of President Vladimir Putin, and are threatening broader measures that could affect entire economic sectors if Moscow escalates tension over Ukraine.

"As for sanctions, they have not affected the company's business in any way," Dyukov said in St. Petersburg, where Gazprom Neft is now based.

He suggested that Western companies did not want broader sanctions imposed on Russia, but that Gazprom Neft would reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar if necessary and turn to Asia if doorways to the West were shut.

"Of course, I have had meetings, contacts with representatives of Western business circles ... In principle, they are not interested in escalation of tensions," Dyukov said.

Gazprom Neft is exploring for unconventional oil – believed to be a source of future oil output growth in Russia – in western Siberia with Royal Dutch Shell.

With all things American out of vogue as the United States seeks to punish Putin for the annexation of Crimea and deter him from seeking control of any more Ukrainian territory, he said the company had broached the idea of dropping the dollar.


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