TotalEnergies sells stake in Russian joint venture

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TotalEnergies is selling its stake in Terneftegaz, a joint venture with Novatek, to the Russian oil and gas company, the French energy major said on Friday amid criticism over its business dealings in Russia.

The French company, unlike many Western rivals, has so far held on to many of its assets in Russia.

“Closing is expected in September 2022, subject to customary conditions,” the company said in a statement, after days of controversy over Terneftegaz, which Le Monde newspaper said supplied condensate gas which was later transformed to kerosene used in two Russian army bases.

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TotalEnergies said that the divestment had been planned before the controversy emerged.

“On July 18, 2022, TotalEnergies agreed to sell to Novatek TotalEnergies’ 49 percent interest in Terneftegaz, which operates the Termokarstovoye gas and condensates field in Russia, on economic terms enabling TotalEnergies to recover the outstanding amounts invested in the field,” it said.

TotalEnergies added that it had sent Russian authorities a request to approve the deal on August 8 and that it got the green light on Thursday.

“As a result, on August 26, 2022, TotalEnergies and Novatek signed the final sale and purchase agreement of TotalEnergies’ 49 percent interest in Terneftegaz.”

In another statement earlier on Friday, TotalEnergies confirmed it and Novatek jointly produce gas condensate in Russia that ends up in jet fuel, but said that it was all for export.

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

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