BEIJING—China Oilfield Services Ltd, a unit of one of China’s largest oil companies, has signed a long-term oil drilling contract with Norway’s Statoil ASA, demonstrating that Beijing’s fury over the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo may not stop major commercial deals.
Details of the contract were posted on the COSL website on Dec. 10, the same day the Nobel prize was awarded. Statoil also announced the award, in a little-noticed release on its website, the day before the Oslo ceremony.
Under the five-year deal, Statoil will deploy an advanced COSL rig starting in the middle of next year in the stormy waters of Norway’s continental shelf. The value of the deal hasn’t been disclosed, but it likely will run into many hundreds of millions of dollars. In March, Statoil chartered two rigs for drilling in the same area—one for three years at $421 million and another for four years at $394 million.
When the announcement that the prize would go to Mr. Liu was made Oct. 8, China foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the award would “damage Sino-Norwegian relations.”
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