"Every good deal, every masterpiece, requires some effort," he says of the Essar acquisition. When challenged on whether the debt-laden company bears comparison to Michelangelo, he replies: "It is more like a Henri Matisse."
The deal, done in conjunction with commodity trader Trafigura, increases Rosneft's total refining capacity by 20m tonnes to more than 120m tonnes a year, gives it control of a deepwater port on the Indian Ocean, close to the Gulf, and a national network of 2,700 petrol stations.
"To put it mildly, the Indian market goes through very positive dynamics right now," he says. "I like Essar. It was a challenging project . . . [but] this project is really a gem, a jewel among our projects."
And while sanctions may mean Mr Sechin, Rosneft and Russia currently have a strained relationship with the US energy industry, the resolute former deputy chief of staff to Mr Putin has ambitions for a grand coalition between oil's superpowers: Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US.
While reflecting on President Donald Trump's campaign stance on developing better relations with Russia — which has since been replaced with a more hawkish position in office — Mr Sechin hopes that the influence of Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil chief executive turned US secretary of state, could help usher in a thaw.
"It is true . . . It is really good for the industry," Mr Sechin says. "Our esteemed Rex Tillerson, our former colleague, perfectly understands the synergy that arises from our joint projects."
The two men developed a strong relationship while partnering on multibillion-dollar projects in Russia, and Mr Sechin sees scope for even more ambitious collaboration.
"There are three regulators in the modern world. First is the American oil market, which produces 9.3m barrels per day. Then Saudi Arabia. And then Russia," he says. "So co-ordination of those three leaders, would certainly be beneficial for the market, for the companies, for the shareholders, for everyone."