Russia will not abandon existing production sharing agreements with foreign oil and gas companies, but it is unlikely to pursue further such deals in the future, the country’s Deputy Economy Minister Kirill Androsov said on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Androsov also said he had no information supporting speculation that gas giant Gazprom might be seeking more than 25 percent of Shell-led Sakhalin Energy, the operator of Sakhalin-2, a major oil project in the Far East.
Last year Royal Dutch/Shell, which leads the Sakhalin Energy consortium, announced a preliminary swap deal with Gazprom that would give the state-controlled Russian company up to 25 percent in Sakhalin Energy in exchange for a 50 percent interest in Gazprom’s massive Zapolyarnoye gas field in northern Russia. But only days later, Shell said it expected development costs to double at the Sakhalin Energy project to $20 billion, prompting Gazprom to say it would reassess the planned exchange. Ever since then the companies have been in a deadlock failing to agree on who would get what. As MosNews reported, Sakhalin-2 has been recently troubled by all sorts of accusations from different government bodies, including a lawsuit from environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor. Observers have speculated that all of this is being done in order to put some pressure on Shell in its negotiations with Gazprom.