US supermajor ConocoPhillips is close to announcing that it plans to halve its stake in Lukoil, will sell 10% of its 20% interest in the Russian producer within three years, according to reports. "It looks most likely that on 24 March ConocoPhillips will announce that it is selling half its Lukoil stake within three years. It seems they could not reach a deal with Lukoil on the price of the share buyback," a source close to the deal told reuters today, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source said the stake was likely to be sold on the open market.
ConocoPhillips is due to hold its annual analyst meeting next Wednesday, with chief executive Jim Mulva to hold the main presentation. The US supermajor bought into Lukoil in 2004 and has gradually built up its stake to 20%, while also investing hundreds of millions of dollars into a joint production unit with Lukoil in Russia's Arctic, Naryanmarneftegaz. The source said ConocoPhillips and Lukoil were likely to continue to co-own their Arctic joint venture, which produces around 150,000 barrels per day. John Roper from ConocoPhillips told Upstream: "We do not comment on market rumours or speculation."