Russia’s Gazprom to buy Shell’s stake in Sakhalin LNG terminal operator

Russia has approved the sale of a 27.5 percent stake, previously owned by LNG giant Shell, in the new operator of the Sakhalin LNG plant to a unit of state-owned Gazprom, according to a government order dated March 23.

Under the order, Gazprom’s unit Sakhalin Project will buy the stake in Sakhalin Energy for 94.8 billion roubles ($1.02 billion).

Gazprom already has a 50 percent operating stake in the LNG terminal operator.

The government also declared null and void the order from April last year to approve Novatek’s purchase of Shell’s 27.5 percent stake in Sakhalin Energy LLC, but it did not provide further information on the reasons behind this decision.

LNG Prime invited Shell to comment on the new decision by the government.

“We cannot comment on matters relating to the Russian Federal Government’s Decree process,” a Shell spokesperson said.

“Shell reserves all its legal rights relating to its 27.5 percent (minus one share) interest in Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd (SEIC),” the spokesperson said.

It remains unclear whether the Russian government would allow the transfer of the sale funds to Shell.

Back in 2022, Shell said it will not take equity in the new Sakhalin LNG terminal operator.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in June 2022 allowing Russia to take charge of the Sakhalin-2 project due to Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

Sakhalin Energy LLC launched its operations on August 19, 2022 and the Sakhalin-2 LNG export terminal produced about 11.5 million tonnes of LNG in 2022.

Previous reports suggest the LNG termina produced more than 10 million tonnes of LNG in 2023.

Besides Shell’s 27.5 percent interest and Gazprom’s 50 percent operating stake in the original entity, Japan’s Mitsui owned 12.5 percent stake and compatriot Mitsubishi had 10 percent in the plant.

Mitsui and Mitsubishi won approvals in 2022 from the Russian government to take stakes in the new operator.

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