Russia's Rosneft files $1.4 bln suit against Sakhalin-1 participants

MOSCOW, July 23 (Reuters) - Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft filed an 89 billion rouble ($1.41 billion) lawsuit on Monday against participants of the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project operated by ExxonMobil subsidiary Exxon Neftegaz Ltd.

The suit, received by an arbitration court in the Sakhalin region in Russia’s Far East, seeks to recover funds gained by parties between July 10, 2015, and May 31, 2018, through “unjust enrichment and interest gained by using other people’s money”, according to paperwork issued by the court.

The lawsuit has been filed against five entities, claiming 10 billion roubles from Sakhalinmorneftegaz, 7.5 billion from RN-Astra, 26.7 billion from Exxon Neftegaz Ltd, 26.7 billion from Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co, and 17.8 billion from India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd.

Sakhalin-1 is operated by Exxon Neftegaz Ltd, through which ExxonMobil owns 30 percent in the project. Rosneft and ONGC control 20 percent each. Japanese consortium SODECO owns 30 percent.

A Rosneft spokesperson confirmed the company had filed the suit, but declined to elaborate. Exxon Neftegaz said it was “aware of the court action, rejects the claims and will take action to defend the rights of the Sakhalin-1 consortium”.

A preliminary court hearing was set for September 10.

$1 = 63.0200 roubles Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Olesya Astakhova Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Jan Harvey