LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell said it has declared force majeure on an exploration project in Ukraine, which is close to the site where flight MH17 crashed, although it was too early to assess the impact of sanctions on Russia on the company.
The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company has been exploring for shale gas in Ukraine and its assets in Russia include a stake in Sakhalin-2, one of the world's largest liquefied natural gas projects.
"I think it is relatively close. We were in roughly the same region," Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said at a news conference, referring to the location of the MH17 crash site. "The operation that we had on the unconventional exploration programme in that general area is on hold, as a matter of fact it was technically on hold for evaluation purposes."
"We've also declared force majeure as you can imagine simply because we cannot continue the operations there."
Speaking on a conference call to discuss Shell's earnings, Mr van Beurden said it was too soon to assess what the impact of Western sanctions on Russia would be. "It is easy to think of what has happened and all the events that have followed on from it as a bit of a game changer," he said. "But it is a bit early to say how this will all play out. We are not as exposed to Russia as some of our competitors."