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Russia’s Sakhalin-2 Back To Full Production After Maintenance

Russia’s Sakhalin-2 project producing LNG and oil has returned to full operations after planned maintenance, Gazprom’s Deputy CEO Vitaly Markelov has told Russian news agency Interfax.

The maintenance, which began in July, involved all natural gas production facilities, according to the executive.

The operator of Sakhalin-2 is now a Russian entity, Sakhalin Energy, following a decree by Vladimir Putin from last year that stipulated that a newly set-up state Russian company would take over the rights and obligations of Sakhalin Energy Investment Co., the joint venture running the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project.

UK-based supermajor Shell and Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi were minority shareholders in Sakhalin Energy Investment, whose biggest shareholder is Gazprom.

Shell has a 27.5% in the project, but it had already announced it would withdraw from Sakhalin-2. Russian LNG exporter Novatek has been approved to take over Shell’s stake, but the deal has yet to be finalized.

In July this year, Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co said it doesn’t plan to exit its minority shareholding in the Sakhalin-2 LNG project as the export facility continues to export liquefied natural gas to Japan.

Mitsui, which has 12.5% in Sakhalin-2, said in November that the project had enough technical know-how to run operations without Shell.

Meanwhile, Russia’s LNG exports to the EU have surged this year as the bloc is now buying significantly more Russian LNG than it did before the invasion of Ukraine.

The EU’s liquefied natural gas imports from Russia jumped by 40% between January and July 2023 compared to the same period of 2021, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, campaign NGO Global Witness said last month.

Unlike Russian oil, Russian gas is not banned or under sanctions in Europe. But while pipeline gas supply from Russia has slowed to a trickle, Europe has raised imports of LNG, including LNG from Russia.

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“Buying Russian gas has the same impact as buying Russian oil. Both fund the war in Ukraine, and every euro means more bloodshed. While European countries decry the war, they’re putting money into Putin’s pockets,” said Jonathan Noronha-Gant, senior fossil fuel campaigner at Global Witness.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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