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NEW DELHI : Royal Dutch Shell Plc is in talks with state-run Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) to invest $500 million in the state-run firm’s decentralized solar business, said two people close to the matter. “The discussions have been on for a while, with the final term sheet expected to be signed shortly. The proposed investment is planned at the asset level," one of the two people said, requesting anonymity.

Shell set up its New Energies division in 2016. It also owns a 49% stake in Singapore-based Cleantech Solar Energy that has a 500-megawatt (MW) portfolio in countries including India.

India’s green economy is seeing increasing interest from global oil companies amid a growing global focus on companies with positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. The latest being Thailand’s PTT Group buying a 41.6% stake in Avaada Energy Pvt. Ltd for around $454 million.

Other global energy majors in India’s green energy space are Malaysia’s state-run oil and gas firm Petronas and French energy giant Total. Italy’s Eni SpA, Norway’s Statoil ASA and Russia’s Rosneft also looking at opportunities here.

Mint earlier reported about CESL looking to raise around $500 million from stake sale at the asset level and in discussions with both Indian and global investors. Deloitte has been mandated to run the sale process.

CESL managing director and chief executive officer Mahua Acharya declined to comment.

“We do not comment on market speculation," a Shell spokesperson said in an emailed response. A Deloitte spokesperson also declined to comment.

Under the decentralized solar programme, CESL is targeting a 9.4-gigawatt (GW) portfolio over the next five years. This is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27.55 million tonnes. Shell runs a liquefied natural gas terminal at Hazira on India’s west coast and is among the few foreign oil companies to have a fuel retail licence in India.

The talks between CESL and Royal Dutch Shell come at a time of a growing interest in the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment.

C&I projects are generally insulated from risks such as power procurement curtailment and tariff-shopping by discoms.

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