GAIL hunts for Russian assets
State-owned gas transporter GAIL is scouting for oil and gas assets in Russia, shunned by western companies following the sanctions on Moscow for triggering the war in Ukraine.
“Why would anyone say no (to Russian assets) if it makes commercial sense,” company chairman Manoj Jain told reporters at a post earnings press conference.
Jain said the PSU was open to buying Russian assets but declined to elaborate considering the sensitivity of the issue in the current geo-political situation.
Sources indicated that GAIL would join hands with other state-owned energy players to buy the assets exited by the western firms.
Shell in February said it would leave all its Russian operations, including its 27.5 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant on Russia’s eastern flank.
Sakhalin-2 is controlled and operated by Russian gas company Gazprom. Other stakeholders in the project include Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi Corp. Any sale agreement would also require Moscow’s approval.
British energy giant BP in February said it will sell its nearly 20 per cent ownership in Russian state-owned energy giant Rosneft.
US energy giant ExxonMobil and Norway’s state-controlled company Equinor are also walking out of Russia.
BP’s stake in Rosneft is worth $14 billion. In various projects, Shell has about $3 billion in assets in Russia. ExxonMobil has more than $4 billion in assets, reports said.
The Indian government has been encouraging the state owned firms in buying the Russian assets which are available at discounted rates given the risk involved, dubbing the potential transactions “distress sales”.
GAIL India reported a 40 per cent jump in its March quarter net profit as margins on natural gas sales rose. Net profit in January-March at Rs 2,683.11 crore was higher than Rs 1,907.67 crore in the same period a year back.
Revenue from operations rose to Rs 26,968.21 crore from Rs 15,549.07 crore in January-March 2021.
The company reported net profit of Rs 10,363.97 crore in the last fiscal against Rs 4,890.18 crore a year ago.
Pre-tax earnings from natural gas marketing jumped to Rs 1,725.93 crore in the fourth quarter of 2021-22, up from Rs 280.89 crore a year back.