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Shell is in talks with a consortium of Indian energy companies to sell its stake in a major LNG plant in Russia, Reuters reported, citing three sources.

The world's third-largest oil importer and consumer has already increased its purchases of Russian supplies since the conflict erupted in February, taking advantage of deep discounts at a time when global oil prices have soared.

Sources say Shell recently entered into talks with a group of Indian companies, including ONGC Videsh and Gail, to sell a 27.5% stake in the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant on Russia's eastern flank.

The talks followed plans by the British company to shut down all of its Russian operations amid an exodus of Western companies from the country in response to sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the International Energy Agency, India has bought up cheap Russian oil, increasing its share of Russian oil exports from zero to 10% since the beginning of this year.

The Indian government has also asked state-owned energy companies to explore the possibility of buying Russian assets from major European oil companies, including BP.

Shell is also asking the Indian group to submit separate bids for long-term deals with Sakhalin II to supply the consortium with LNG and crude oil, two sources said.

At present, India does not buy much LNG from Russia, but intends to dramatically increase gas consumption in the coming decades.

It remains to be seen whether the talks between Shell and the Indian consortium will lead to a deal, the value of which remains unclear after Shell wrote off its Russian holdings.

The world's largest liquefied natural gas trader wrote off $3.9 billion of Russian assets after its decision to leave.

Any sale agreement would also require Moscow's approval, the sources said.

Shell is not currently in talks with other companies, including Chinese energy groups, to sell its stake in Sakhalin II, one of the sources said.

Sakhalin-2 is controlled and operated by the Russian gas company Gazprom. Other stakeholders of the project are Japanese companies Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp.

Earlier this month, Shell agreed to sell its Russian retail and lubricants business to Lukoil.

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