Schlumberger: Antitrust – Not to get EDC, friendly state needed
Keeping oilfield servicing Eurasia Drilling Company (EDC) under Russian jurisdiction or in hands of a state friendlier to Moscow that the U.S., would be reasonable. Igor Artemyev, head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service, said.
In July, EDC agreed to sell 51% to U.S. oilfield servicing giant Schlumberger, but the antimonopoly service said that the deal was problematic due to the political situation. Natural Resources and Environment Ministry suggested Schlumberger develop a mechanism to protect EDC’s projects in Russia from the Western sanctions.
“The international situation is worsening, and EDC is one of our largest companies. It is engaged in servicing contracts, it services drilling rigs and oil production. Taxes on oil production account for half of the Russian budget. Let’s suppose that tomorrow someone in Washington decides on new sanctions. And shareholders will order Schlumberger to stop operations in Russia to save their money. This is a risk for the country,” Artemyev said.
“If we had at least some certainty that our American partners, I mean the U.S. Department of State, will behave in a predictable way, we might have approved the deal…The current situation is that the West introduces new sanctions against Russia on a monthly basis. So the Russian government is thinking that it would be better to keep the company in Russian jurisdiction or in the hands of a country that is friendlier than the U.S, reported Prime.
“I respect Schlumberger very much, including respect for their independent position that they have shown. They are good specialists, and I am sure they should work on the Russian market. But it would be risky to give them such a significant market share.”
In August, the watchdog received a request to purchase a stake in EDC from a consortium of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the Russia–China Investment Fund (RCIF), and Middle Eastern investors. Mubadala was later named among the investors. Artemyev said in September that a government commission for foreign investment control should study the request.