TotalEnergies sells its stake in the Siberian gas field to Russian Novatek

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PARIS, Aug 26 (Reuters) – TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) is selling its stake in a Siberian gas field, held in a joint venture with Novatek, to the Russian oil and gas company, the French energy major said on Friday. business in Russia.

The French company, unlike a number of Western competitors, has so far kept many of its assets in Russia. A spokesman declined to say whether it would do anything with its 19% stake in Novatek itself, or any of its other businesses in the country.

A Russian presidential decree issued earlier this month bars investors from what Moscow calls hostile countries, including France, from selling shares in certain energy projects and banks until the end of the year, but the decree provides for exceptions in certain cases. Read more

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The development will be seen as a small bright spot by TotalEnergies peers such as BP (BP.L) or Shell (SHEL.L), which have been stuck with tens of billions in assets in Russia and have struggled to find buyers.

Regarding the sale of its stake in Terneftegaz, which operates the Termokarstovoye gas and condensate field in Siberia, “the closing (of the operation) is expected in September 2022, subject to the usual conditions”, indicated TotalEnergies in a communicated.

The announcement came after days of controversy over Terneftegaz, which Le Monde newspaper said supplied condensate gas that was later turned into kerosene used at two Russian military bases. Read more

TotalEnergies said the sale had been planned before the controversy broke out.

“On July 18, 2022, TotalEnergies agreed to sell the 49% stake in Terneftegaz to Novatek TotalEnergies (…) under economic conditions allowing TotalEnergies to recover the outstandings invested in the field”, he specified.

The company added that it sent Russian authorities a request to approve the deal on August 8 and was given the green light on Thursday.

“As a result, on August 26, 2022, TotalEnergies and Novatek signed the definitive agreement for the sale and purchase of TotalEnergies’ 49% stake in Terneftegaz.

TotalEnergies shares traded down 0.15% on Friday, broadly in line with peers and outperforming the CAC-40 (.FCHI) which fell 1.68%.

In a separate statement, TotalEnergies confirmed this and Novatek jointly produce gas condensate in Russia that ends up in jet fuel, but said it was all for export. Read more

Global Witness, a campaign group that helped Le Monde compile the report, said TotalEnergies contradicted itself in its statements and said there should be an investigation.

Greenpeace France has asked TotalEnergies to sell its remaining Russian assets.

“The sale of its stake in the Termokarstovoye gas field should not become a smokescreen for TotalEnergies’ remaining business relationships in Russia,” Greenpeace legal activist Clara Gonzales said in a statement.

Greenpeace said the company should also sell its stake in Novatek – which it says supplies the Russian military – and cut all commercial ties with it.

TotalEnergies decided in July to sell the remaining 20% ​​interest it held in the Kharyaga oil field, as part of its first major sale in Russia after Western sanctions against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

It still holds minority stakes in several non-state Russian companies: Novatek (19.4%), Yamal LNG (20%), Arctic LNG 2 (10%).

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Reporting by Tassilo Hummel Writing by Tassilo Hummel and Ingrid Melander Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Kirsten Donovan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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