President of Rosneft Igor Sechin. Image courtesy of Rosneft.

Russia’s Rosneft is looking to tap UK-certified lawyers to fight sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU governments in response to Russia’s military involvement in the Ukraine.

Rosneft issued a $28 million tender to enlist the services of UK lawyers on a website that register Russian state orders and purchases, Reuters reports.

The offer says that providers must “render legal services with regard to challenging economic sanctions and to protect interests of the client in general in respect to any other legal matters.”

The current offer is for 37,000 hours of work billed at about $767 per hour.

The sanctions have already shrunk Rosneft’s production and slowed its plans to exploit Russia’s large Arctic reserves.

Rosneft reported a 1.3 percent output drop in August partially caused by flagging output at its Siberian sites.

In September, the U.S. and EU tightened financial sanctions against Russian oil companies including Rosneft, Gazprom and pipeline operator Transneft that would prohibit the companies from receiving bank loans with a maturity date longer than 30 days.

Exports of technology and equipment for deepwater exploration and production to Russia was already barred by previous sanctions along with the exploitation of oil and gas resources in the Russian Arctic and at onshore shale plays.

The new sanctions do not target Russia’s gas sector. The export of space and civilian nuclear technologies to Russia are also unaffected by the sanctions.

The sanctions were spurred by the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine where Russia has been providing support for pro-Russia rebels who do not want Ukraine to develop closer ties with the EU.

Russian companies also face restricted access to credit markets and are ineligible for loans with maturity dates that exceed 30 days.

Last week, Norway also signed onto the sanctions.

BP owns a 19.75 percent stake in Rosneft.

Earlier this month, ExxonMobil had to wind down a $600 million offshore oil project with Rosneft in the Kara Sea that is part of a larger $3.2 billion joint venture.


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