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New US sanctions to bar Americans from Arctic offshore oil projects with Russia

The US Treasury Department has announced a new set of sanctions against Moscow, banning American companies and individuals from taking part in Russian energy projects related to deepwater, Arctic offshore or shale oil exploration and production.

“The Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control has determined, in consultation with the Department of State, that the following activities by a US person or within the United States are prohibited… the provision, exportation, or re-exportation, directly or indirectly, of goods, services (except for financial services), or technology in support of exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects,” the statement, published on Tuesday, reads.

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The latest set of restrictions is being imposed over the conflict in Ukraine, the Treasury Department said. According to the Treasury, the ban includes projects that will be implemented after January 29, 2018.

The Russian government sees the development of the Arctic, including oil production, as one of its priorities. In August, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that 160 billion rubles ($2.78 billion) would be allocated to the development of the Arctic continental shelf and boosting the economy in this sector.

According to Russian oil giant Rosneft, the Arctic shelf is expected to account for 20-30 percent of Russia’s total oil production by 2050. Earlier this year, Rosneft began drilling in several locations in the Laptev Sea.

Last week, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, decried the US sanctions against Moscow, saying that they would “certainly fail.”

READ MORE: Russia goes all in on Arctic oil development

“We are not afraid of sanctions, we will survive. But my firm conviction is that once the Americans and we act together, we can overcome any enemy,” Antonov told a youth conference in New York. According to the ambassador, the decision to end the strife between the two nations depends on the “political will” of the American side, as Russia is ready for cooperation.

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