Russian gas giant Gazprom has already entered into negotiations with Shell over taking a significant share in the western European energy firm's oil and gas projects underway on the east Russian island of Sakhalin, the company has said in a statement.

According to Gazprom, Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom management committee and Jeroen Van Der Veer, chief executive of Royal Dutch/Shell Group have held discussion as the former’s headquarters about Shell’s proposals stipulating Gazprom’s joining the Sakhalin-2 project.

Recent newspaper speculation in the UK suggested that Shell would be forced to sell a controlling share of its Sakhalin operations to Gazprom as part of punishment measures from Moscow for environmental rule breeches.

The wider industry is concerned that the development is the latest example of Moscow using underhand tactics to re-nationalize Russian energy assets.