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Shell deal with Russia looks likely

Lauren Mills, Financial Mail

5 July 2009, 11:34am

move would set the ball rolling for Shell to firm up details of its potential involvement in developing the deep-water fields.

Jeroen van der Veer, who stepped down as Shell’s chief executive last Wednesday, said: ‘As far as we know, the situation regarding licensing will be resolved in the near future.’

He met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last weekend. As revealed by Financial Mail, the Anglo-Dutch oil company was asked for its help in developing the vast Sakhalin-3 and Sakhalin-4 oil and gas fields.

The surprising about-turn, after years of Russian resource nationalism, could mark the start of a new era of cooperation between Russia and foreign oil majors.

Putin clearly recognises that Russia needs foreign investment to help it realise its energy wealth. Referring to Sakhalin-3 and Sakhalin-4, Putin told Van der Veer: ‘Your skills and experience will certainly be required in those areas.’

Shell is likely to learn details about the terms of its potential involvement once Gazprom has completed exploratory work.

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