15:25 GMT +322 July 2019
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    A container is lifted by a crane on May 15, 2008 on the Sleipner gas platform, some 250 kms off Norway's coast in the North Sea

    UK Forces Russian Businessman Fridman to Sell Off North Sea Gas Fields

    © AFP 2019 / DANIEL SANNUM LAUTEN
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    The British government has given Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman three months to sell off his recently acquired North Sea gas fields, or run the risk of having his operating licenses rebuked.

    The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) released a statement today stepping up the pressure on Mr Fridman's company LetterOne to sell the interests in the area, following the $5.4 billion (£3.62 billion) acquisition of the oil and gas arm of international company RWE. The ministry said in a statement:

    "The Secretary of State Ed Davey […] proposes to revoke DEA UK's North Sea petroleum licenses unless LetterOne arranges for a further change of control of the DEA UK gas fields in the North Sea." 

    Britain's energy secretary Ed Davey said despite the three-month deadline to sell off the assets, it may be extended to six months. The decision comes amid an ongoing dispute between LetterOne and UK government officials, who spoke out against Fridman's potential purchase of gas field assets in British waters.

    The government has opposed the Russian's ownership of North Sea assets, arguing that it was concerned possible further sanctions against Russia could be implemented, which would then potentially impact on the UK's energy production.

    Some analysts have seen the decision, which comes less than three weeks out from the UK general election, as another step in Britain's heavy criticism of Russia for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

    LetterOne has not yet been available for comment.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    Oil, license, acquisition, billionaire, anti-Russian sanctions, business, civil war, gas, energy, energy market, assets, sanctions, petroleum, Ukrainian crisis, LetterOne Technology, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, RWE, DEA, Mikhail Fridman, Great Britain, Russia, North Sea, United Kingdom
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