Duma chairman: Japan’s, other foreign stakes in Sakhalin-2 should be sold to Russian firm

Reuters file photo
Russia’s Duma chairman, Vyacheslav Volodin, is seen before the Victory Day Parade in Red Square in Moscow on June 24, 2020.

Japanese companies, and those from other countries imposing sanctions on Russia, should have their stakes in the Sakhalin-2 energy development project sold to friendly companies such as state-run Gazprom, Russia’s lower house chairman said Wednesday.

The oil and natural gas mining project off the Russian Far East island of Sakhalin involves the participation of Japanese trading companies and other foreign entities.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted the Japanese government to announce additional sanctions on Moscow, including a ban on imports of Russian oil in principle. However, Tokyo has indicated that it will not withdraw from the Sakhalin-2 project, saying that if Russia or a third country acquires its stakes, it would benefit Moscow.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the Duma, named specific countries, including Japan and Britain, whose companies are participating in Sakhalin-2, saying they are receiving big dividends while reducing their business in Russia.

Japan’s Mitsui & Co. holds a 12.5% stake in the project while fellow trading company Mitsubishi Corp. holds 10%.

Volodin also suggested that the stakes should be sold to Gazprom or companies in countries that are not designated as “unfriendly” by Moscow.