Gazprom eyes Shell assets in exchange for Sakhalin projects

29th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Gazprom is looking to increase its involvement in Shell projects in exchange for the Anglo-Dutch company's broader participation in ventures on Sakhalin Island, the natural gas giant's deputy chairman said Monday.

"We are now preparing a memorandum with Shell that covers a long, broad area of cooperation between Shell and Gazprom -- not only in Russia but also outside Russia," Alexander Medvedev told the English-language service of Russia Today television.

"We know that Shell has good assets which could be of interest to us. If we find an acceptable solution (that suits both sides), then this cooperation could be expanded and also include cooperation on Sakhalin," he said.

In late 2006, Shell was essentially sidelined from the 22-billion-dollar (16-billion-euro) Sakhalin-2 plant, being forced to sell its controlling stake in the project under Russian state pressure.

But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin formally invited Shell to participate in the Pacific coast's Sakhalin-3 and Sakhalin-4 natural gas projects last year, with the company also helping launch Russia's first liquified natural gas plant.

Shell has since voiced renewed interest in Russia. Gazprom, meanwhile, is seeking to expand its foreign assets as it tries to crack more Western -- and particularly US -- natural gas markets.

© 2010 AFP

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