RUSSIA: Gazprom Seen in Talks on ExxonMobil's Sakhalin-1

Gazprom this year held talks to join ExxonMobil's Sakhalin-1 oil-and-gas project, an unidentified person close to the gas giant said.

Gazprom, which took control of Shell's Sakhalin-2 project last year, now wants a stake in Exxon's venture, Vedomosti reported Thursday. Gazprom held talks with both Exxon and its partner in Sakhalin-1, state-controlled Rosneft, Vedomosti said.

Exxon has only held negotiations with Gazprom regarding sales of gas from Sakahlin-1, Exxon spokeswoman Dilyara Sydykova told the newspaper. Sydykova and other company spokespeople were unavailable to comment.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov declined to comment, Vedomosti reported.

Rosneft has no comment on the article, spokesman Nikolai Manvelov said by telephone. The report came after Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Ananenkov on Wednesday lambasted foreign operators of Sakhalin-1, signaling new pressure on the country's last big foreign-led energy project.

"We have received an extremely negative experience of foreign participation in exploration projects in Russia's east," Ananenkov said.

"A handover of control over the projects led to an infringement of Russia's national interests, turning Russian gas consumers into 'poor relations' who see their gas siphoned off," Ananenkov said.

Sakhalin-1 is operated under a production-sharing agreement, which excludes the project from Gazprom's legal monopoly on gas exports.

Last week, the government cut Sakhalin-1's $1.84 billion funding plan by $576 million after it had found that studies of a pipeline to China were unnecessary.

Via: The Moscow Times | By Kevin O'Flynn

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