Rosneft Agrees Helicopter Venture With Italy’s Finmeccanica
OAO Rosneft (ROSN) and state-owned holding company Rostec signed a deal with Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA (FNC) to build 160 helicopters, showing Russia’s largest oil producer can still do business in Europe despite sanctions.
The three companies will establish a joint venture based at the HeliVert plant in the Moscow region, Rosneft said in a statement on its website. HeliVert will deliver the 160 AW189 helicopters to Rosneft in stages by 2025. The deal includes assembly, supply, after-sales service and training.
“Offshore projects development is a strategic priority for Rosneft,” the company’s Chairman Igor Sechin said in the statement, explaining why the company needs a new helicopter fleet.
The deal with Finmeccanica, 32.5 percent owned by the Italian state, comes as the Russian oil producer faces U.S. and European financing sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. U.S.- led sanctions restrict Rosneft from borrowing internationally and limit access to offshore and shale technology.
Sechin has championed the development of untapped fields in Russia’s Arctic Ocean, where Rosneft was forced to suspend a drilling venture with Exxon Mobil Corp. this year because of the sanctions. Rosneft has vowed to carry on development.
The AW189 is a medium category transport helicopter used for offshore transport and rescue missions. It can carry 16 people and has a maximum range of 600 nautical miles.