ConocoPhillips sells stake in Rosneft venture, exits Russia after 25 years

ConocoPhillips sells stake in Rosneft venture, exits Russia after 25 years
By bne IntelliNews December 23, 2015

US oil and natural gas major ConocoPhillips has sold its 50% stake in a joint venture with Russia's largest crude producer state-controlled Rosneft, the Houston-based company said on December 22.

ConocoPhillips sold its 50% in the Polar Lights joint extraction venture to Cyprus-registered Trisonnery Asset Limited, which puts an end to the oil company's 25-year history of operations in Russia, according to spokesman Kris Sava.

ConocoPhillips was one of the first foreign companies to invest in the Russian oil and gas industry, with the 1992-founded Polar Lights being the largest foreign investor in Russia's energy sector in the early 1990s.

The US company reportedly started to look for buyers in Polar Lights, which accounts for about 0.5% of its daily crude oil output, after the introduction of the EU and US sanctions in 2014. Polar Lights was eventually sold to a company controlled by the Khotin family, which is involved in oil investment.

In 2004, the US oil and gas major also bought a 7.6% in Russia's second-largest and biggest private oil company Lukoil, later increasing it to 20%. However, in 2010 ConocoPhillips sold a stake in Lukoil for $9.5bn and has since been selling stakes in joint ventures with the company.

Rosneft also reportedly sold its share in Polar Lights in mid-December in a deal that valued the business at about $150mn-$200mn.