London/Moscow — Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of a project to build a Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant partly because Gazprom suddenly added another partner with links to an ally of President Vladimir Putin, according to five sources. After three years work on the Baltic Coast project, Shell discovered that Gazprom was bringing in a company linked to Arkady Rotenberg, who is on a US sanctions blacklist. The sudden change in the line-up of partners was one of the key factors contributing to Shell’s Wednesday announcement that it is pulling out of the project, according to three sources close to Shell and two other sources familiar with the project. Asked to comment on the reasons for withdrawing, a Shell spokesperson said it had nothing to add to a previous statement that said its exit followed Gazprom’s announcement last month of its final concept for the project. Gazprom spokesperson Sergey Kupriyanov said the company was not commenting. According to the two sources close t...

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