Shell & Gazprom agree Baltic LNG project

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden at Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 16, 2016. © Mikhail Metzel / TASS
Russia’s Gazprom and Anglo-Dutch energy major Shell have inked a letter of understanding to begin a liquefied natural gas project at the Russian port of Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea.

CEOs Aleksey Miller and Ben van Beurden signed the agreement at the 20th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

The project aims to diversify Gazprom’s LNG sales operations and to boost its LNG portfolio.

The enterprise will reportedly include a two-train LNG plant as well as a pipeline connected to the Gazprom network. The Baltic LNG Plant will have a capacity of about 10 million tons of gas annually with an option to expand to 15 million tons. The new plant will start operating in December 2021.

The deal will reportedly provide the Anglo-Dutch company a 25-35 percent stake in the project. Gazprom estimated the costs at about $10 billion.

Headquartered in The Hague, Royal Dutch Shell is one of the biggest energy corporations in the world. Earlier this year, the company acquired the assets and concessions of UK energy provider British Gas, turning Shell into the world’s second biggest LNG player.

During a meeting with President Putin the company’s CEO said he plans to develop business in Russia despite the rough economic conditions.

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He asked the Russian leader to support Shell's business in the country.

Van Beurden pointed out that Shell had already made a lot of progress in its Sakhalin-2 LNG project in the partnership with Russia’s Gazprom.

Vladimir Putin said Shell was a long-term and reliable partner for Russia.

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Putin added that the problems many companies currently face are caused by the slow growth of the economy.

“We are ready to build up domestic fiscal policy to enable foreign companies to make long-term plans in view of today's circumstances and perspectives for both long-term and medium prospects,” the President said.