United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
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If I were Dr. Goodluck Jonathan …An Igbo point of view

I will not accept the offer to be running mate to the PDP Presidential candidate for the 2007 elections – Umaru Musa Yar’Adua unless I do not want to diligently serve my people, the long suffering Ijaws of Bayelsa State.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will stick to been the executive Governor of Bayelsa State for Nigeria runs an executive system of government and all powers lie with the helmsman and in the case of Presidency, the President and at the Governorship level, the Governor for I was once a deputy governor, a toothless one like the VP and deputy governor’s.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will content myself with the executive powers and considerable resources of oil rich BayelsaState to change the fortunes of my people and my state if judiciously used and applied.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will not be carried away by the Vice Presidential slot for it is an empty office that depends on the largesse of the President and in this PDP charade, on President Obasanjo for he has manipulated the PDP presidential primaries and the party’s constitution to execute his third term agenda by remote.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will not fall into President Obasanjo’s trap because come May 2007, the machineries of powers will still remain with him, for Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, should he win, will be reporting to him.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will take a cue from the political travails of people who has dined and wined with President Obasanjo such as VP Atiku Abubakar, Jim Nwobodo, Solomon Lar, Audu Ogbeh to name a few and run away, a thousand miles back to Yenagoa, from him, for he cannot swim.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will not need to be told that the long suffering Bayelsans will benefit more from my being an executive Governor with teeth than a toothless VP.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, having been a Governor for about two years should have revealed to me the uphill task that needs to be done to alleviate the living standards of my people and should have had a master plan in place by now to tackle the problem.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, my political goal at present will be to effect my master plan with the considerable resources and power at my disposal as executive Governor.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I should take into consideration that my people has no jobs for the only viable industry in my state is kidnapping and extortion – militancy, I should realise that my people has no access to portable drinking water, that my people has no access to decent accommodation, that my people, the Ijaws has no access to 20th century education system, that my people, the Ijaws are scattered all over Nigeria, wandering and existing aimlessly, In Edo state, they are known as Toru-Ibe’s. The Arogbo’s and Apoi’s are my people found in Ondo state. In Anambra state, my people are found at Ogbe Ijaw quarters by the banks of River Niger in Onitsha eking out a miserable living as itinerant seasonal fishermen. In Lagos state, my people are found scattered and living in penury around and inside the filthy lagoons of Lagos, suffering and smiling. That there is no Ijaw town with a population of more than 100,000 people but yet there are over 14 Million Ijaws, residing where? The list of my peoples travails goes on and on and yet, very considerable resources of Nigeria are generated from our lands. That, then being an executive Governor, paddling with my people, sleeping with my people, eating with my people, mingling with my people in Yenagoa, in Odi, in Amassoma, in Nembe is the best way to feel their pulse, their pains, there thoughts and alleviate these desolateness rather than wining and dining and deceiving myself (our selves) at ‘developed’ Abuja with its International Airport, world class stadium, five-star hotels, Microsoft village, Eagle Square, London style Black Taxi’s, etc whilst ignoring the plight of my people, the Ijaws, the Apoi’s  -  the Chicken that lays the golden eggs that are eaten in Abuja, in Lekki, in Ikoyi, in Victoria Island, in Kano, in Kaduna, in Sokoto, in Enugu.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, residing in Abuja will isolate me from my people, from my friends, from my kit and kin. It will isolate me from having access to and eating real fresh fish with my people. I will be surrounded by friends that are not friends, by enemies that are enemies, by a contraption called Nigeria that I will never understand and ultimately to a position of helplessness. I will then begin to miss the serenity of Yenagoa, the tranquillity of Brass, the coolness of Nembe, the warmth of my people, the real power to help my people at the grass root level: the executive power to decide which road to build, who to make a commissioner, which school to rebuild, which industry to attract, where to site a water bore-hole, where to mount a transformer. All these will be taken away from me. Rather I will be hearing grammar that nobody understands like MDG’s, NEED’s, Poverty Alleviation yet there are no developments anywhere, people are still in need and getting poorer by the day.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, unless I want to answer Vice President of Nigeria for the sake of the name, I will gladly reject the offer to be Yar’Adua’s running mate and stick to completing my term, developing my state, helping my people by being the executive Governor of Bayelsa state.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will be guided by the saying “A good general is one who knows when to quit and dares to do so” i.e. one should know his limitations and act accordingly and gladly decline this ‘tempting’ offer for the interest of my people, for I am too inexperienced to deal with them at Abuja. I will recognise that is why they chose me out for the blues to further subjugate my people. I will rather recommend Ijaw pugilists like Chief Edwin Clark, High Chief Pere Ajuwa, Prof. Kimse Okoko, Timi Alaibe to name a few as the VP candidate to deal with them up there and fight my peoples battle, our battle.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I will realise that mother luck hardly shines more than once and will not attempt to ride out my luck.

Unfortunately for Bayelsa state, for the Ijaws, I am not Goodluck Jonathan. I am Odenigbo Chidi Anyaeche, an Igbo from Anambra State

On another note, Goodluck Jonathan’s middle name is Ebele, which is an Igbo name. Is he an Igbo Man? For Ebele is the only ethnic name amongst his names.

Chidi Anyaeche Mr. B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. (London), M.Sc. (Cranfield)

10 Winnington Road, Enfield

London, EN3 5RH. UK

Tel. 07956 367 576

Email. Chidi_Anyaeche@hotmail.com

[ijawnation] An Igbo point of view - Response to Chidi

Dear Chidi,

I quite disagree with your outrageous, injurious, and flagellated suggestion to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on his nomination as VP to Yar'dua under the PDP platform. Where were your barrage of invective advise when Alex Ekwueme was nominated as VP to Shehu Shagari in 1979? How come you forgot so soon? What about Ebitu Ukiwe second to Ibrahim Babangida? Did any Ijaw spew insults on the Igbos that were nominated or appointed? Look, watch your afflictive pronouncements that are riddled as advise to the Ijaws or else; we will not keep mute, but rather reciprocate in similar sarcastic and corky undertone like you willfully vomited.

Take your Igbo nose out of Ijaw affairs, like Ijaws have been taking their nose out of Igbo affairs! Who are you to tell us (Ijaws) what is good for us? Are you and Ijaw Chidi? If Dr. Goodluck Jonathan were to be an Igbo man, the Ndigbos would have been singing aloud and dancing their Ojuonu dance on the street of Abuja, Onitsha, Owerri, and Aba.

Now, for your myopic mindedness! Buhari has just picked Nnamani to be his VP under ANPP platform. I will be desperately waiting for your bewitchful and sarcastic advise on that one, make sure the advise carry the same venom like the one you send to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Chidi, we know who you are, you are a stooge for the Ndigbo supremacy.     


Lincoln B. Snithers

Atiku: I Have Stopped Functioning As VP, So What?
THE GUARDIAN Sunday, December 24, 2006   

Just before he showed up at the convention of the Action Congress (AC) at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, last Wednesday, where he was adopted as the party presidential candidate, Vice President Atiku Abubakar agreed to meet with The Guardian team at his Ikoyi Crescent home, Lagos strictly for only 15 minutes. A crowd of politicians was massing up in the vast premises to engage him.

The appointment was for 9am. He, however, took position about two hours later and spent a few more moments, apologising for appearing late. He said, "I returned this morning" (apparently from high wire political consultations).

He was calm and collected. There was a determination to advance full length in the battle at hand. "So what? Have I been functioning as a vice president?" he thundered in reply to a question. In other words, threats by the Presidency to declare his office vacant if he leaves the PDP for another party (which he has done) do not bother him.

Resolute is the word. His voice rose, dropped and stabilised to create a rhythm of anger, laughter and aloofness in his narration. He is on a self-appointed mission: to recover Nigeria's fledgling democracy from autocracy.

Essentially, he sees himself too deep in the mess to be unduly cautious. No question was parried as such from The Guardian team of AKPO ESAJERE, EHICHIOYA EZOMON, ABRAHAM OGBODO AND ALABI WILLIAMS.

THE relationship between you and President Obasanjo has gone really bad. When did you two begin to fall apart?

It started before and shortly after the nomination process in year 2003. I had never, all along, believed in the characterisation of the President as unforgiving, vindictive until now. I remember when I mobilised the governors during the re-nomination exercise in 2003, to come with me to meet the President and support his candidacy at House No 7. He asked the governors to be frank and be sincere with him, to open up and let him know their minds. A few of them spoke about his un-forgiveness and his vindictive characteristics.

The President denied being unforgiving and gave examples of families he disagreed with in the past, particularly in the Southwest where he mentioned the family of Chief Awolowo. He said he had forgotten and forgiven everything and that was why he appointed the daughter (of Awolowo) as an Ambassador. He gave other instances and said he could not be described as somebody, who could be said to be un-forgiving.

There were, of course, other governors, who described him as not being marketable and so on. I thought that after speaking frankly and clearing all the doubts in our minds, we had put it behind us and it was all over.

But unfortunately, that was not to be the case post-2003. First of all was the unfolding of the issue of life presidency and tenure elongation, by making sure that every responsibility I held were taken over; by making sure that all my staff were fired; making sure that I had no budget in my office. Even when I wanted to fuel my cars, sometimes, I had to go begging in his office. Sometimes, I had to do with spending my own (money). But I still went along because I am very familiar with the provisions of the Constitution. The Vice President really depends on the President.

Of course, I had to come out openly and publicly to declare my stand on the issue of constitutional amendment. It was done out of pure patriotism and for the love that I have for this country. I have always placed this love first before every other thing. I felt it was not in the best interest of this country, nor in the best interest of democracy. And I came out to speak against it.

One cannot say my position was based on selfishness. No, it was a principled stand and that has characterised all my decisions since I joined politics. Remember that in the 1992/93 primaries in Jos, I declared my stand based on principles.

And even in 1999, if I wanted to run for the presidency, I had the whole of the PDP in my hands. I was deciding who was to go for which office. I handled everything even before the President came in. So, if it were an issue of selfishness, I would have put myself in a strategic position.

I believe that the real point of departure between the President and I was over the issue of constitutional amendment.

The PDP and the President say that they will declare your office vacant if you were to come out as a presidential candidate in the Action Congress (AC). What is your reaction to that?

I am not aware of that statement.

Constitutionally speaking, will it not amount to your vacating office if you declared on the platform of another party?

They cannot invoke any section of the Constitution because that section of the Constitution is not even available for them to invoke.

You know lawyers hardly agree on anything. I have more than 10 legal opinions on this matter. And they are all foremost constitutional lawyers, and if there is anything they have agreed, it is that there is simply nothing anybody can do with my declaration because I have decided to pick a ticket to contest the next election on the platform of another party.

Whatever provision of the Constitution on this matter does not cover President, the Vice and the Governors. What they are always alluding to is the section that applies to the members of the National Assembly. They also allude to what they call joint ticket. That one does not apply because, even in the Second Republic, we had cases that went up to the Supreme Court. There was the case of the Governor of Borno State, who left the GNPP (Great Nigeria Peoples Party) and contested under the UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) and he remained in office and the case went up to the Supreme Court. It was a determined case.

So, whatever claim anybody makes is not backed by law and we have legal consultants, who have enlightened me on that.

But that is not to say that we should not expect a government and a party that is lawless, like the PDP, to try certain things. After all, they have expelled me from the PDP. So what?

'They Don't Have The Numbers To Impeach Me'

WHEN did you cease, technically, to be a member of the PDP?

I ceased to be a member of the PDP, technically, by the time they conducted the membership re-validation exercise. I went to my ward (in Adamawa State), where I was supposed to be registered by my ward chairman. He was not available and I was just given an ordinary register to write my name.

I came back (to Abuja) and called the President. I said, 'this is the way I was treated. I saw the way you were treated in your own ward. See how I was treated in my own ward.'

He (President) started with bravado, called the (PDP national) chairman and howled some order. Immediately, the chairman came to my office, and brought a new registration card. The person, who signed the card on behalf of my ward chairman, was the National Auditor (of the PDP) and the person, who signed on behalf of my ward secretary, was my Deputy Chief of Staff.

But the constitution of the PDP is very clear: that you will be registered in your ward and the chairman and secretary are the ones to sign. That is the position of the constitution of the PDP. But they gave me a card that was signed by the national auditor and my deputy chief of staff, who are not members of my ward executive. Technically, I was holding an invalid PDP card and from there, I knew they were up to something.

So, it is a very simple and straightforward thing. If they really wanted to re-register me, they would have instructed the Adamawa State executive to bring my ward chairman together with the register of the ward. Then, I would know that PDP wanted me to be a bonafide and valid member. I ceased to be a member legally and according to the PDP constitution from then on. So, what are they talking about?

What then is the basis of your going to court to challenge your suspension from the party?

The basis was to prove law and order. Unless we behave within the rule of law, we will be in chaos. The basis is that in the constitution of the PDP, there is no basis for a re-registration. It is one simple registration. But this is a party that believes in lawlessness. The PDP does not believe in the rule of law. It is most unfortunate that this type of party is governing us. I hope Nigerians will make a change.

Was the PDP always like this?

No, this is not the PDP we formed. In this you need to come to PDP NEC and witness the robust debate. But now, nobody talks at NEC. It is only the leader of the party and chairman, who make pronouncements; nobody talks. And then you now have the hired members, who would now chorus, yes, yes! No more debate.

It is said that you have been so badly damaged in the public domain that you cannot reasonably go for election.

You cannot take away the rights of Nigerians to decide who is to be elected. For somebody to come out and say that I am damaged, let me ask, who is not damaged in this country? You must respect the rights of the voters. Let me have the opportunity to present myself to the voters and let them decide.

Look at what is happening in the United States, with reference to Congressman Jefferson. With the entire bribery allegation and all the exhibits recovered, he ran for election and his constituency voted him. And when they asked Congresswoman Herman, she said she respects the rights of the voters to determine whom they want. But it is also the responsibility of the Justice Department to do their work.

This is how it should be. It should be the right of Nigerians to decide whom they want to elect. It is not the right or duty of a commentator or analyst to sit down and say somebody is damaged. You should respect the sense of judgment of voters to decide.

Back to your decision to leave the PDP for another party. Threats have been issued that even if you refused to resign, it would be made impossible for you to function.

I have already stopped functioning. What is your problem? I have already stopped functioning as a VP. There is a time in the life of a man when you have to take a decision.

Look, I cannot be impeached because of this. If you remove me by force, I will go to the court. You cannot jail me because I have not committed any offence. Go to any court of law today and I tell you that I have not committed any offence. So, what is this? The worse you can say today is that I am no longer the Vice President. So what? Can't I take a decision in my life at a point in time?

I hear this arrant boy say if not because of his immunity, I would jail him. It is not the responsibility of the EFCC to jail me. It is the responsibility of the court to jail me if I have done something wrong. I am prepared to face the court.

Have you contemplated being impeached, if they actually mean business and want you out?

They don't have the numbers. We (the President and I) may end up being impeached altogether.

Given that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has picked the ANPP ticket, will the ANPP/AC alliance still be effective to confront the PDP? Will there be some point of convergence between you and Buhari?

I don't worry; time will tell. You don't worry.

There are fears in certain quarters that given your soured relationship with the President, if you make it to the Presidency you would jail him?

No, not at all! I will have no business to do with such things. There are too many serious things to do for this country. We have lost so much time and there is so much work to do. I won't have that kind of time. We don't have to look back.

What actually happened that weekend when you suddenly moved your family out of Aso Rock?

I don't want to talk about that. Let's put it behind us for now. A time will come when I will talk about it.

'They Tried Psychological Warfare On Me, They Failed'

BACK to the period of the 2003 nomination. It was said that you almost upstaged the President and that your campaign had been put at alert?

There was no campaign; I did not have any campaign plans. All what I had was the pressure by the governors. There was no campaign by me, I did not have a campaign office and I did not ask anybody to campaign for me.

It was really the pressure from the governors, who wanted me to run against the President. I reasoned and told them that it was not in our national interest, and that the South had just assumed power for only four years. I said it would not be in the best interest of the country for us to have the power moved only after four years. And I still stand by it. What ever has happened to me because of that decision I accept it, but I still believe in what I did.

Could you still count on the support of the governors?

They still remain my friends; many of them still remain my personal friends.


Politically, they have been so cowed; they are scared. They have been threatened; they are blackmailed and intimidated.

Look, there was a time during this Jefferson case that they used so much psychological warfare against me, to the extent that even the National Security Adviser (Muhktar) was in London together with the President and he called me. He said: "Vice President, we hear you are going to the United States." I said yes! He said: "As the National Security Adviser, I don't want to embarrass you because we have got report that you will be embarrassed when you get to the United States." I said thank you very much, Security Adviser and I put off my phone.

I knew it was a psychological warfare and I said I was prepared to go and face law enforcement agents in the United States because I didn't commit any crime. I went into my aircraft and left for the United States.

When I got to the United States, the reception I got was like that of a President. I had a motorcade that picked me from the airport right to my house. Before, the motorcade would take me from the airport through the outside gate to my house. But this time, they took me right from the airport to my house. I'm not bothered by such psychological warfare.

What remains of the PDM, with the governor of Katsina State, Umar Yar'Adua picking the ticket of the PDP?

I don't know why you keep asking this question. I have said that the Governor of Katsina State was never a member of the PDM. He came out to say that he was never a member of the PDM. So, the PDM remains intact, and I am not aware of one single member of the PDM, who is with the Governor of Katsina State.

You arrived in Lagos on Tuesday in a chartered flight. Why did you not come in your official aircraft?

Because it is a private thing. Normally, this President has made it in such a way that any where I had to go, I had to put up an application in writing, to get permission to travel and also to get permission to use the presidential plane, even though that aircraft was specifically appropriated by the National Assembly for use of the Vice President.

Unfortunately, I made up my mind to come to Lagos and the President was not in town. I am too eager to go back to my normal life as a Nigerian. I have been chartering aircraft as back as 1982. I was still in the Customs and somebody even petitioned President (Shehu) Shagari that I owned an aircraft.

Since 1999, how many times have you hired an aircraft?

This is about the third time.

Can you say that you have remained loyal to President Obasanjo from 1999 till now and he is just paying you back in this measure for no good reason?

Absolutely, absolutely!

You have done so much paper work in terms of what you want to do for Nigeria. Could you sum up on what your policy is all about?

My philosophy is just to work for Nigeria for the rest of my life.

Don't you feel betrayed?

When you have to deal with human beings, you must give room for that. Human beings that even betrayed their God, who created them? So, who is man not to feel betrayed?

Shell Pecten

News & Media releases


Gazprom, Shell, Mitsui, Mitsubishi sign Sakhalin II protocol


On December 21, 2006 OAO Gazprom (Gazprom), Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell), Mitsui &Co., Ltd (Mitsui) and Mitsubishi Corporation (Mitsubishi) have signed a protocol to bring Gazprom into the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (SEIC) as a leading shareholder. Under the terms of the protocol, Gazprom will acquire a 50% stake plus one share in SEIC for a total cash purchase price of $7.45 billion. The current SEIC partners will each dilute their stakes by 50% to accommodate this transaction, with a proportionate share of the purchase price. Shell will retain a 27.5% stake, with Mitsui and Mitsubishi holding 12.5% and 10% stakes, respectively.


SEIC will remain the operator of the Sakhalin II project. Gazprom will play a leading role as majority shareholder while Shell will continue to significantly contribute to SEIC management and remain as Technical Advisor. The key focus for SEIC is to complete the project on schedule allowing LNG to be delivered to existing customers in Japan, Korea and the North American West Coast. All existing LNG sales contracts will remain in force and will be honored.

Gazprom and existing SEIC shareholders will enter into an Area of Mutual Interest arrangement, which will cover both future Sakhalin oil and gas exploration and production opportunities, and building of Sakhalin II into a regional oil and LNG hub.

The shareholders now look forward to implementing the project in line with the current schedule including obtaining all necessary permits and approvals granted in accordance with applicable Russian legislation and the PSA.

Mitsui President and CEO Shoei Utsuda said: "This is one of the significant milestones in the Sakhalin 2 project and we, Mitsui as a founder of the project, are confident that this will allow the project to move forward on schedule."

Mitsubishi President and CEO Yorihiko Kojima said: "We would like to welcome Gazprom’s entry as a new partner. We trust that unity and strength of four shareholders will enable Sakhalin Energy to become a highly valued supplier of LNG and Crude Oil for Asia-Pacific markets".

Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer commented " We welcome Gazprom's entry into SEIC as a leading shareholder. Our first priority is to get Sakhalin II up and running. This agreement is an important step forward, and positions Sakhalin II for further growth opportunities ”.

Chairman of the Board of Gazprom Alexey Miller said, "Gazprom is implementing the strategy of strengthening its positions on LNG markets. Entering Sakhalin II project that involves production and marketing of LNG is an important step towards this objective." 


Notes to editors:

Sakhalin is a new world-class oil and gas province, with estimated resources of some 45 billion barrels oil equivalent. Sakhalin II is the largest integrated oil and gas project in the world, with total resources of some 4 billion barrels oil equivalent.

Sakhalin II today has production capacity of 80,000 barrels oil equivalent per day. The next phase of the development will take the project capacity to 340,000 barrels oil equivalent per day, including 9.6 million tones per year of LNG production.

The second phase of the project is over 80% complete, with some $12 billion invested to end Q3 2006. Over 17,000 people are currently employed in the construction of the project, of which around 70% are Russian nationals. The planned LNG production has been sold under contract to customers across the Asia-Pacific region. Shell is a leader in the global LNG industry, and sets the standard for reliability and cost performance. Sakhalin II is an important component in Shell’s global LNG portfolio.

The Sakhalin II project is governed under a PSA, whereby the project partners finance the construction costs of the project, take on the development risk, and recover these costs from sales of oil and gas. So far, some $600 million of royalty, bonuses and taxes have been paid to the Russian government by the end of 2006.

Sakhalin II includes the following elements:

  • Offshore production facilities including the Molikpaq platform (PA-A), the new PA-B and Lun-A platforms and some 300 km of offshore pipelines;
  • An onshore processing facility to take the gas and crude oil from both fields; 
  •  Two 800 km of onshore oil and gas pipelines to the south of the island; 
  • An oil export facility capable of year-round operation; 
  • The first LNG plant and associated export facilities built in Russia; 
  • Island infrastructure upgrades, such as roads, bridges, rail, port, airport, and medical facility upgrades.

Gazprom grabs Sakhalin gas stake
State-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom has wrested control of a massive oil and gas field from Anglo-Dutch rival Shell.

Gazprom will pay $7.5bn (Ł3.8bn) for a 50%-plus-one-share stake in the Sakhalin-2 project after Shell was accused of breaking environmental laws.

The deal was signed by President Vladimir Putin and top executives from Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom.

Analysts said the deal was better than expected for Shell.

Shell and Japanese companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi will see their stakes in the $22bn project on the Pacific island halved.

Holdings cut

Shell will now be left with a 27.5% stake, after it had been widely expected to see its holding reduced to 25%.

"They (Shell) seem to be receiving cash upfront which is positive and the purchase price is a little better than expected. Gazprom is effectively paying cost," said MAN Securities oil analyst Niell Morton.

However it still remains unclear whether Shell will continue to lead theSakhalin-2 project.

A statement from the firm said it would "continue to significantly contribute to the (consortium's) management and remain as technical adviser".

Legal wrangle

In October, Russia's environment agency, RosProdNadzor, had asked for more time to investigate the project saying it differed significantly from the original plans.

The country's environmental minister later claimed it had broken five criminal laws.

Shell has always denied the claims, while some analysts said the way the Sakhalin issue had been handled was designed to strengthen the government's position in renegotiating the development of the field.

After the deal was signed, President Putin said he was "glad" the issue had been resolved.

"Issues of principal importance are already as good as settled, while approaches to their solution - coordinated," he added.

Due to be finished in 2008, Sakhalin-2 will be the largest integrated oil and gas field in the world.

Gazprom, Shell, Mitsui, Mitsubishi sign Sakhalin II protocol
State-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom has wrested control of a massive oil and gas field from Anglo-Dutch rival Shell.
An Igbo point of view - Response to Chidi
Atiku: I Have Stopped Functioning As VP, So What?