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Daily Mail: Chelsea owner to rescue Shell

Daily Mail: Chelsea owner to rescue Shell

CHELSEA football club owner Roman Abramovich is being touted as the unlikely saviour of troubled Shell.: SHORTAGE: Shell could target Abramovich’s oil and gas empire Sibneft to plug reserves: “Reports from Moscow say the Sibneft takeover could be unveiled this week.”

Tuesday 5 July 2005

Ian Lyall,

5 July 2005

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant is thought to be ready to table a £4.5bn bid for the billionaire’s Sibneft oil and gas empire as it desperately attempts to plug a gaping hole in its reserves.

News of Shell’s interest broke as the oil tycoon picked up a dividend cheque for £780m from his Siberian oil company.

It is one of the biggest single payouts to a Britishbased businessman, and would allow the former oligarch turned soccer supremo to buy 26 Steven Gerrards.

Chelsea have been linked with a bid for the unsettled Liverpool midfielder, who at £30m would become the most expensive British player ever.

Abramovich’s thoughts, however, are probably on Shell rather than soccer. Russian reports suggest the company has partnered with Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, to mount the Sibneft bid. Analysts say Shell could certainly afford to bankroll the deal, as they reckon it has around £6.25bn to spend on acquisitions.

They believe the group is keen to get into production hotspots such as Siberia.

At present its oil derricks and pipelines are connected to Sakhalin, which is expected to pump out a relatively modest £2.3bn-£2.8bn of annual revenues by 2007.

‘The deal is feasible,’ said one analyst. ‘But we must ask why Abramovich wants out of Russia.’

The tycoon’s willingness to sell ‘may hint at further political upheaval there’. Reports from Moscow say the Sibneft takeover could be unveiled this week.

They cite sources close to Gazprom as saying the joint purchase is part of a broader deal which would include Shell’s assets on Sakhalin and Gazprom’s Siberian fields.

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