Western oil companies exit Russia
Western oil giants are selling out and downscaling involvement in Russia as state influence over the sector is growing. Both the American company ConocoPhillips and British BP are cutting their exposure to Russia's oil and gas sector.
ConocoPhillips has informed that the company plans to sell half of its 20 percent stake in Russian oil company Lukoil, a decicion that Wall Street Journal calls ?a move that could signal the end of one of few large successful partnerships by U.S. energy firms in the oil-rich country?.
ConocoPhillips is the third largest U.S. oil company by market value. It acquired in 2004 a 7 percent stake in Lukoil, an interest that over the years increased to 20 percent. Last October the company announced that it would sell about 10 billion USD worth of assets over the next two years as part of a restructuring plan to shore up its finances, but said then it intended to keep its stake in Lukoil.
ConocoPhillips achieved its stake in Lukoil through hard-fought political maneuvering with the Kremlin in hopes of getting its hands on other hydrocarbon projects in Russia. But part from a joint production unit ? Naryanmarneftegaz ? in Russia's Arctic, the investment hasn't led to further projects.
BP"s Russian joint venture TNK-BP is selling Kovykta, a giant Siberian gas field, follows years of state pressure on the project, British newspaper Telegraph reports. Officials threatened to revoke Kovykta's licence because of unmet production targets, pressuring TNK-BP to sell the asset.
TNK-BP wanted to spend 20 billion USD on the field, but production has never got off the ground. The joint venture has argued it cannot ramp up output because Gazprom has a monopoly on exports to nearby China and it would need to build pipelines costing billions of dollars to reach the Asian markets.