Russian oil producer Lukoil is negotiating with Indian companies to divest its 38% interest in the Pecan oilfield offshore Ghana, Reuters reported, citing undisclosed sources.

The move is aimed at resolving a standstill in filing field development plans, which the field’s operator Aker Energy has not yet filed.

Sources with knowledge of the development told the news agency that the Russian firm held talks with Indian firms, including ONGC Videsh, at the India Energy Week conference.

According to one of the sources, Lukoil is directly negotiating with prospective buyers as investment banking firms are distancing themselves because of Western sanctions against Russia.

In Ghana’s Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block, which includes the Pecan development project, Aker Energy owns a 50% participating stake.

According to Aker, the submission of Pecan’s development plan to Ghanaian officials has been delayed out of concerns that sanctions may be imposed on the project due to Lukoil’s involvement.

However, the Russian energy major denied that its presence puts the project at risk of sanctions.

Lukoil in a statement cited by Reuters said: “The company and its management are not subject to any sanctions, therefore there are no obstacles in this respect for the joint development of the oilfield.”

Apart from Lukoil, Aker Energy’s other partners in the project include Fueltrade (2%) and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (10%).

In January this year, Lukoil, through its subsidiary Litasco SA, finalised a deal to divest its ISAB refinery located near Siracusa in Sicily, Italy, to a group led by Cypriot private equity firm GOI Energy.

The deal, which is backed by Geneva-based Trafigura, is anticipated to close in March 2023.