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Shell is holding negotiations to sell its fuel stations in Russia as part of its wider efforts to withdraw from the country, in response to Moscow’s war against Ukraine, reported Bloomberg News.

Shell’s press office was cited by the publication as saying, in a statement: “We can confirm the ongoing negotiations on the sale of Shell Neft, which owns a retail network and lubricants plant, which is located in Torzhok.

“Our key priority is safety of our people and operations, maintaining employment, and compliance with the Russian legislation.”

Shell Neft head Sergei Starodubtsev was quoted by Interfax as saying that the company will temporarily suspend the operations of its filling stations and the lubricants plant in Russia in the next few days, to ensure the sale of Shell Neft to the new owner.

Russian oil producer Lukoil PJSC is likely to be the buyer of Shell Neft, reported Forbes, citing an unidentified person from Shell’s office in Russia.

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Shell’s retail network includes over 370 branded sites in 28 Russia cities.

A source told Forbes that Shell has not yet signed a deal as the two parties are in deliberations.

One source said that Shell would divest its lubricants plant together with its debts and fillings stations.

As per the company’s 2021 financial statement, Shell Neft has a debt of $130.41m (RUR9bn).

In 2021, Shell said it plans to boost production capacity at its lubricants plant in Torzhok from 200 million to 300 million litres of lubricants per year.

Last week, Shell wrote off $3.9bn post-tax in its first quarter of 2022 due to its decision to exit Russian oil and gas operations.

For the first quarter that ended 31 March 2022, the firm reported adjusted earnings of $9.13bn, up from $3.2bn in the same period a year ago, benefiting from higher oil and gas prices.