September 30, 2020

Volume X, Number 274

September 29, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 28, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

U.S. Blocks Oil and Gas Equipment Exports to Russia

On Aug. 6, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce published a new rule implementing the latest round of sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector by imposing a licensing requirement on certain commercial equipment intended for use in exploration or production from deepwater (greater than 500 feet), Arctic offshore, or shale projects in Russia. However, the new rule affects a wide variety of equipment commonly used in the oil and gas industry. At the same time, BIS announced its policy to deny authorizing any new licenses for such equipment.

The equipment subject to the Aug. 6, rule is identified in a new Supplement No. 2 to Part 746 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which includes fifty-two previously uncontrolled “EAR99” products. They include such items as various types of line pipe, drilling equipment and parts and oil well/oil field pumps. In addition, equipment that is controlled on the Commerce Control List under Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) 0A998, 1C992, 3A232, 6A991, 8A992 or 8D999 are also subject to the new BIS licensing rule and policy of denial. They include, but are not limited to, drilling rigs, parts for horizontal drilling, drilling and completion equipment, subsea processing equipment, marine engines, wireline and down hole motors and equipment, drill pipe and casing, software for hydraulic fracturing, high pressure pumps, seismic acquisition equipment and seismic analysis data, remotely operated vehicles, compressors, expanders, valves and risers.

The new licensing requirement and denial policy for the products described above apply if the exporter or reexporter knows the items will be used directly or indirectly in exploration for, or production of, oil or gas in:

  • Russian deepwater (greater than 500 feet); or

  • Arctic offshore locations or shale formations in Russia

This new rule also applies if the exporter or reexporter is “unable to determine whether the item will be used in such projects.” Thus, this provision places a heavy burden on those exporting or reexporting the items described above to Russia. They will need to attain a high level of confidence that the products will not be used for Russian deepwater operations, Arctic offshore or shale formations in Russia. U.S. exporters of such items should consider steps such as performing due diligence on their Russian customers, obtaining end use certificates from their customers, or, if applicable, documenting the inability of their products to be used in deepwater, Arctic conditions or shale formations.

This rule change went into effect immediately on Aug. 6, and there is no “savings clause” to permit delivery of shipments that were already on their way. Thus, if there are any shipments en route that include equipment subject to the new rule, they would need to be stopped and redirected.

In addition to regularly screening all parties to a transaction to ensure they are not a listed party or subject to the sectoral sanctions, a company should now screen all products to determine if they are subject to this new licensing requirement and policy of denial. The situation in Ukraine is evolving rapidly, and the U.S. continues to issue new restrictions without much advance notice. U.S. companies considering transactions involving Russia, whether directly or indirectly, should proceed with utmost caution.

A copy of the Federal Register Notice containing the new EAR Section 746.5 licensing rule and denial policy can befound here. We urge you to review the Supplement No. 1 to Part 774 and Supplement No. 2 to Part 746 at the end of the Notice to determine if any of your products are affected.

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 220


About this Author

Karen A. McGee, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate Law Attorney

Karen A. McGee is the Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Global Services Practice Group, Associations and Foundations Practice Group, and the Corporate and Intellectual Property Departments. Ms. McGee concentrates her practice in the international trade area.

Ms. McGee counsels foreign and domestic clients and trade associations on international trade regulatory matters involving the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR); foreign assets controls; antidumping and...

Linda M. Weinberg International trade lawyer Barnes Thornburg

Linda Weinberg provides practical advice to business and institutional clients on international trade law, including export controls, foreign assets control and customs. She works regularly with the U.S. and foreign government agencies that regulate international trade to help clients realize their distinct objectives surrounding their global commerce initiatives.

Co-chair of the firm’s International Trade practice group, Linda advises and represents clients on commodity jurisdiction, export classification, licensing, technical assistance agreements, and enforcement related to defense articles and dual-use items, encryption software and technical data and services. Her experience extends to a range of industries, including aerospace, satellite, nuclear, electronics, defense, security and software, among others. She has represented clients in export control matters elevated to the inter-agency Operating Committee and the Advisory Committee on Export Policy.

Linda is a member of the core team assisting the Special Compliance Coordinator appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to monitor, assess and report on the U.S. export control compliance of Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China, and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (collectively, ZTE).

In addition, Linda provides clients with counseling, licensing services and enforcement representation with respect to U.S. economic sanctions, related USA PATRIOT Act issues, anti-boycott regulation and CFIUS. Notably, she assists research and development companies and universities in complying with U.S. export control laws, particularly with respect to technology transfers to foreign national researchers and students.