May 17 2014, 12:34pm CDT | by Forbes
Sanctions be damned. The President of Russian oil major Rosneft, Igor Sechin, met with top executives from two of China’s largest state-owned oil firms this week in an effort to expand a budding partnership between energy rich Russia and energy hungry China.
Sechin, known as “Darth Vader” in the Russian press, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department this month due to his perceived support of the pro-Russian uprisings in east Ukraine. The sanctions, which do not target Rosneft as of yet, ban Sechin from traveling to the United States or conducting financial transactions with American companies.
China, of course, is not required to follow in another countries footsteps. China has remained neutral, with a slight lean towards Russia, in regards to the ongoing political strife in Ukraine.
Both Russia and China have been inching closer together on energy matters.
In October, Rosneft and China’s national oil firm CNPC agreed to set up a joint venture for upstream developments in East Siberia, with Rosneft holding 51% and CNPC with the rest. The deal gives China access to the Srednebotuobinsk field, which has an estimated 2.05 million barrels of oil and equivalents in Sibera.
Rosneft also reached an agreement with Sinopec to supply 10 million tons of oil per year during a 10-year period. The company also has an even deeper contract with CNPC to sell 180 million tons of crude oil to China until 2030.
Next week, Sechin’s friend and Russian president Vladimir Putin will head to Shanghai to discuss deepening economic ties with China. Energy will clearly take center stage in the talks. During the visit, Russia and China could agree on long-term gas supplies and increasing oil supplies, according to local press reports.
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