The company has sold its 50% stake in Polar Lights, its joint venture with Rosneft which was first registered in 1992. Rosneft also sold its stake in the asset last week.
The Financial Times reports that Conoco sought a buyer for its Polar Lights stake last year and that the joint venture was sold to a company owned by the Khotin family – Trisonnery Asset Limited – although Rosneft declined to confirm its buyer and the Khotin family have not yet commented on the alleged purchase.
Before merging with Phillips, Conoco was one of the first Western companies to invest in Russian oil and gas in the 1990s. At that time, hydrocarbons were not thought to be as abundant as they are now. Conoco acquired an 8% stake in Lukoil in 2004 which it later increased to 20% however it sold the Lukoil stake in 2011 when the investment proved to be less lucrative that they had foreseen. It appears that Conoco Phillips found it increasingly difficult to be a foreign investor in Russia in recent times, particularly considering the political tensions that have been mounting and the persistently low price of oil. It remains to be seen whether other Western companies will follow suit and arrange their own exits from the country.