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Aramco CEO Rejects Russia LNG Project Investment Report

Saudi Aramco has no plans at this point to invest in Arctic LNG 2, Russian Novatek’s second LNG project, the Saudi company’s chief executive Amin Nasser told media. He was in Moscow as part of a delegation led by King Salman—the first visit of a reigning Saudi monarch to Russia and a clear signal of the deepening ties between the two oil market rivals.

“We are not discussing this at this stage. We are looking at opportunities for working together with the different companies. But what you mention in particular - nothing from Saudi Aramco,” Nasser said, rejecting earlier reports from unnamed sources that said the Saudi energy giant is considering an investment in the project.

The sources told Bloomberg yesterday that Aramco was looking to invest in Russia’s largest drilling contractor, Eurasia Drilling. Other sources, speaking to Reuters, said that Aramco plans to sign non-binding preliminary deals with Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Sibur, and Lukoil’s trading arm Litasco, which Lukoil has put up for sale.

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said yesterday that the two sides will also sign binding investment agreements to the tune of US$3 billion. Another US$1 billion will go into a joint investment fund focused on energy, including renewables.

Related: Activist Investors Crack Down On Shale CEO Salaries

In response to reporters’ questions about a possible participation of Russian companies in the Aramco IPO scheduled for next year, Nasser said no such talks were going on at the moment.

Novatek, Russia’s biggest independent gas producer, is currently building its first Arctic LNG export terminal, which is scheduled to start operating next month. A second one is slated to begin operations in 2022 or 2023, with Novatek eyeing the top spot among LNG producers in Russia. The final investment decision on Arctic LNG 2 will be made in 2019.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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