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Saudi Aramco Offers To Buy Into Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 Project

Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco has offered to buy a stake in Russia’s liquefied natural gas project Arctic LNG 2 and hopes that project operator Novatek will accept the offer, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister and chairman at Aramco, Khalid al-Falih, told Russian news agency TASS in an interview published on Monday.

Saudi Aramco has long been rumored to be considering buying a stake in the Arctic LNG 2 project.  

Asked about recent reports that Aramco has backed out of a possible deal for the Russian LNG project, al-Falih told TASS:

“No, no, this is not true. Aramco extended the offer and we hope that offer will be accepted by Novatek.”   

In April, Novatek signed agreements with two Chinese companies, under which the Asian firms will become shareholders in the Arctic LNG project with 10 percent each. Earlier this year, France’s Total, a partner of Novatek in the producing Yamal LNG project, signed a deal to buy a direct 10-percent interest in Arctic LNG 2.

The final investment decision on the Arctic LNG 2 project is expected to be made in the second half of 2019, while the first liquefaction train is planned to start up in 2023.

At the end of last week, Russia and Saudi Arabia held talks about investments worth tens of billions of U.S. dollars in various energy projects.  

Related: A New Trend In The Middle East? Oman Taxes Energy Drinks As Oil Income Falls

Apart from Arctic LNG 2, Aramco is looking at other projects in Russia, including potential projects with oil giant Rosneft and with natural gas giant Gazprom, as well as in petrochemicals, al-Falih told TASS.

Aramco could also be interested in some joint projects or even equity investment in Russia’s petrochemical company Sibur, “but the interest has to be from both sides. So we will wait for Sibur and its shareholders to express their interest in future cooperation,” al-Falih told TASS.

Referring to the OPEC+ production cut deal after the talks he held with Russia’s top officials last week, the Saudi energy minister told TASS that “I am fairly confident that from the OPEC side almost everyone agrees that we need to extend the Declaration of Cooperation,” adding that “So, I think the remaining country to jump onboard now is Russia.”   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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