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  Monday, December 9, 2019
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Royal Dutch/Shell is ready to sell a 7% stake in the Sakhalin-2 project to Gazprom
This will enable Russia's gas concern to start exporting liquefied natural gas to the United States, Gazeta informs its readers. Gazprom began to think about establishing a Far Eastern subsidiary two years ago. The company opted for Sakhalin-2, which is implemented by foreign investors on a product-sharing basis. At that time, this asset's owners, Sakhalin Energy and its shareholders Royal Dutch/Shell (55%), and Japan's Mitsui and Mitsubishi (25% and 20%), did not intend to sell part of their business to Gazprom. The Russian natural monopolist scored a minimal success in late 2004 when Royal Dutch/Shell allegedly agreed to cede 20% of its project stake in exchange for access to the Zapolyarny deposit's Neokomsky seam. However, this deal has not yet gone through. Another barter-deal option was suggested yesterday. Royal Dutch/Shell agreed to sell its 7% stake in Sakhalin-2 in exchange for permission to develop the Shtokman gas-condensate deposit in the Barents Sea. A source close to the Russian company said that this meant an additional stake in the Sakhalin-2 project (in addition to the 20%). Experts believe both companies see this as an attractive deal. If it happens, Gazprom will acquire a blocking stake in Sakhalin-2. This will give it direct access to the US liquefied-gas market and an investor in Royal Dutch/Shell ready to finance the expensive development of the Shtokman gas-condensate deposit. Royal Dutch/Shell could enlist Gazprom's support to obtain new licenses for the development of mineral deposits in Russia. However, it is still too early to talk about a significant success for Gazprom. Sakhalin-2 has largely depleted its value as a corporate asset. Royal Dutch/Shell sold 70% of the Sakhalin gas deposit to Korea Gas of South Korea in mid-February. Consequently, Gazprom will acquire a "half-sold" deposit in exchange for undeveloped and rich assets.
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