"Rosneft" limited from the East and the West

Its partners CEFC and ExxonMobil were faced with problems.
Rosneft risks losing two key foreign partners. The American ExxonMobil finally quits the offshore projects in Russia, and the Chinese CEFC, apparently, lost the patronage of official Beijing. The owner of the CEFC, E Jianming, was detained on suspicion of fraud, which calls into question the closing of the largest deal for the purchase of a 14.2% stake in Rosneft by the Chinese.

The strategic partners of Rosneft - the US ExxonMobil and the Chinese private CEFC - are faced with circumstances that may limit their cooperation with the Russian state company. On February 28, Exxon acknowledged that due to sanctions, the US will withdraw from all joint offshore projects with Rosneft.

Exxon leaves the projects it agreed with Rosneft in 2011-2013 - the development of sites in the Arctic and Black Seas. Exxon in them belonged to 33.3%. The company justified the withdrawal by the fact that in 2017, Washington extended sanctions (they apply to new oil projects, where the share of the RF is above 33%). According to Kommersant, in 2019 Rosneft and Exxon were to start drilling on the Tuapse Trough in the Black Sea. Now Rosneft intends to implement such projects independently, the company said.

But work without a Western partner is difficult, and this can affect the timing of development. In 2017, due to lack of technology, Rosneft postponed drilling on another project with Exxon - the South Black Sea Black Sea area. One of Kommersant sources in the industry claims that the state company negotiated with the Italian Saipem to attract a drilling rig to the project, which is currently operating at Rosneft JV with Eni on the West-Black Sea section. Kommersant's interlocutors in the industry do not rule out that Rosneft will postpone the license terms for the Tuapse trough. Exxon now estimated losses from the withdrawal from the partnership with Rosneft of $ 200 million after taxes. Previously, she estimated the maximum loss of $ 1 billion before taxes, said Alexei Kokin from Uralsib. Rosneft and Exxon declined to comment further.

But if the offshore projects of Rosneft with Exxon have been practically frozen since 2014 and the formal departure of Americans is not changing much, the problems of the CEFC can have more serious consequences. On February 28, the main owner of the CEFC, which is to buy a 14.16% stake in Rosneft, E Jianming was detained on suspicion of fraud. As a result, the closing of the deal to buy CEFC 14.2% of Rosneft for $ 9.1 billion from the Qatar QIA and Switzerland's Glencore (bought 19.5% of the company's shares in 2016) was in question. The deal was already hampered: it was intended to be closed by the end of 2017, now, as Glencore reported, in the first half of 2018. At the same time, the purchase of securities was carried out with the help of a bridge loan from VTB in the amount of € 5 billion secured by the sale of Rosneft's stake. "Chinese partners can use the credit line at any time, but now it has not yet been selected," VTB told VTB. Sources of Kommersant in the industry fear that the CEFC may not find funding. In CEFC and QIA did not answer "b", in Glencore did not give comments.

Not only the fate of E Jianmin, but also the CEFC itself, which in China was considered close to the authorities (see also the "Rules of the Game") is not clear. According to sources, the detention of the owner of the CEFC was ordered by the leader of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping. Earlier, for aggressive asset buying, E Jianming found resources from the state-owned banks of China, which is not available to most private companies. This made it possible to speculate on the patrons of the CEFC: the most likely option is that E Jianming is one of the illegitimate children of Marshal E Jianying, a colleague of Mao Zedong, and is associated with Chinese military from the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. CEFC was engaged in buying up assets in countries where work on behalf of a "private person" was preferable to working on behalf of the official Beijing. It is possible that the detention of E Jianmin - part of the anti-corruption campaign of China, going for the fifth year. Its task in the corporate sector, the authorities say, is to stabilize the financial situation, combat fraud and illegal operations. So, on February 22, temporary management was introduced in one of the largest insurers Anbang Insurance Group, the head of the company Wu Xiaohui was arrested in May 2017. The strategies of Anbang and CEFC are similar - aggressive buying of assets due to risky borrowing.