Russia's Gazprom eyes asset swap deals with Shell, OMV by year-end

Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:29am EDT
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By Denis Pinchuk and Dmitry Zhdannikov

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's state-controlled gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote) could gain control over some of the assets that Shell (RDSa.L: Quote) acquired earlier this year from BG group, a senior Gazprom executive said in an interview.

Gazprom's Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev said the BG holdings could be included in an asset swap deal between Gazprom and Shell that was announced last year. He did not say what the BG holdings were or where they were located.

"The work is under way, progress has been made and the final result is just around the corner - it's certain that the (deals will be completed) by the year-end, maybe earlier," Medvedev said in an interview cleared for publication on Monday.

"Obviously, the BG assets are also in that basket," Medvedev told Reuters in the interview.

Gazprom is subject to U.S. financial sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

Shell signed a deal with Gazprom last week to study jointly building a $10 billion gas plant on the Baltic Sea, as part of their strategic partnership which also foresees asset swaps.

Shell, which wants to sell as much as $30 billion worth of assets and exit 10 countries after merging with BG, has never commented on the assets it plans to offer to Gazprom.

The asset swap deal is not covered by the scope of the sanctions. Nevertheless, it could still arouse political sensitivities, especially if as part of the deal the Russian company, run by a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, ends up controlling assets in western Europe.   Continued...

A man walks past trucks at a Gazprom gas station in the southern city of Stavropol, Russia, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko