On 18 November, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published frequently asked question (“FAQ”) No. 418 on its website. The FAQ clarifies the definition of “shale project” for purposes of Directive 4 of the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications (“SSI”) List, which prohibits the provision of most goods, services (except financial services) and technology to listed Russian energy companies in support of exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore or shale projects in Russia that have the potential to produce oil. The FAQ clarifies that the term “shale projects” applies only to projects that have the potential to produce oil from shale formations. The term does not apply to exploration or production through layers of shale to locate or extract crude oil or gas from reservoirs.
The EU also has restrictions on goods and technology related to shale projects, but has not provided any definitions.