Shell in talks with Indian consortium to sell stake in Russian LNG plant: report

LONDON: Shell is in talks with a consortium of energy companies in India to sell its stake in a major liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Russia, three sources told Reuters, underscoring India’s willingness to jump into the space Western companies left after Moscow invaded Ukraine.
The world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer has already stepped up its purchase of Russian supplies since the conflict began in February, benefiting from big rebates at a time when global oil prices have soared.
The sources said Shell recently started talks with a group of Indian companies including ONGC Videsh and Gail over its 27.5 percent stake in the Sakhalin-2 LNG facility on Russia’s eastern flank.
Shell declined to comment. ONGC, Gail and other state-owned companies did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The talks follow the British company’s plans to halt all of its Russian operations amid an exodus of Western companies from the country in response to sanctions over the Ukraine conflict. India has not explicitly condemned Moscow’s actions there.
India has snapped up cheap Russian oil and increased its share of Russian oil exports from zero to about 10% since earlier this year, according to the International Energy Agency.
The government has also asked state-owned energy companies to look into buying Russian assets from European oil majors like BP, Reuters reported last month.
India has shrugged off Western criticism and defended its Russian energy purchases, saying they represent a fraction of the country’s total needs and a sudden halt to imports would push up prices for consumers.
India’s LPG Plans
Shell is also asking the Indian group for separate bids for long-term Sakhalin-2 deals to supply the consortium with LNG cargoes and crude oil, two of the sources said.
India does not currently purchase much LNG from Russia, but aims to greatly increase its gas consumption in the coming decades.

It was unclear if talks between Shell and the Indian consortium will result in a deal, the value of which remains unclear after Shell took a write-down on its Russian assets.
The world’s largest liquefied natural gas trader wrote down $3.9 billion on 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 majors, to sell its Sakhalin 2 stake, one of the sources said.

Sakhalin-2 is controlled and operated by the Russian gas company Gazprom. Other project participants are the Japanese Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Corp.
Shell earlier this month agreed to sell its Russian retail and lubricants business to Lukoil.
Moscow is calling its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to rid the country of fascists, a claim that Kyiv and its Western allies have described as a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.

Sybil Alvarez

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