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Putin Signs Decree That Bans “Unfriendly” Investors From Selling Energy Stakes

Russia banned companies from what it considers “unfriendly” countries from selling stakes in key energy projects and oil and gas production sharing agreements by the end of the year under a new decree signed by Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Russia is thus upping the ante in the standoff with the West, which has imposed massive sanctions on Russia. The U.S. has already banned imports of Russian energy, including oil, natural gas, and coal, while the EU plans to enact an embargo on seaborne imports of Russian crude oil and refined products at the end of this year.

Western majors hastened to announce they are abandoning joint projects in Russia after Putin invaded Ukraine at the end of February. Some international companies have managed to exit their participation, such as Norway’s Equinor, which said at the end of May that “The exit from all Joint Ventures has been completed in accordance with Norwegian and EU sanctions legislation related to Russia.”

Shell has already completed the sale of its retail and lubricants businesses in Russia to Lukoil, but hasn’t exited the Sakhalin-2 LNG project yet.

Earlier this week, the Russian government gave Sakhalin-2 minority foreign investors – Shell, and Japan’s Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi – one month to claim their stakes in a new entity that will replace the existing project. Shell has confirmed it is looking at ways to exit the project. The Japanese companies are expected to continue to keep their stakes, Japan’s Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said on Thursday, as carried by Reuters.

U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil, for its part, has said it would quit the Sakhalin-1 oil project in Russia and has said it is in the process of transferring the 30% stake “to another party.” Russian giant Rosneft blamed Exxon on Thursday for the low oil production at the Sakhalin-1 project.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on August 05 2022 said:
    Putin even being alive at the moment is quite the remarkable achievement!

    I'm sure the the Kleptocrats will never cut their losses ever and are always behind Putin 100% upon all the things! Anyhow awful nice of Speaker Pelosi to kick off World War 3 with the Chicoms as well so obviously no problem trading Chinese Yuan going on all Year 2022 let alone right now goes without saying as well.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on August 05 2022 said:
    This means that major foreign companies which withdrew from Russia because of Western sanctions such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil can’t sell their shares to non-Russian entities.

    They will either be nationalized as was the case with Shell’s investment in the Sakhalin-2 LNG project in the Russian Far East or bought on the cheap by Russian companies and the Russian government.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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