Shell, the current owner of 4.1% of the shares in Norways Gasnor, has agreed to acquire the remaining shares in the company for $74 million, the company said on Wednesday.
Subject to Norwegian regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to be closed in the third quarter of 2012.
Gasnor operates in Norways small-scale LNG (liquefied natural gas) sector, supplying LNG as a fuel to industrial and marine customers and operating an end-to-end supply chain.
Gasnors assets include three small-scale production plants and distribution items including two tanker ships, a fleet of trucks and a network of terminals.
The acquisition of Gasnor is an important step for Shell towards creating an LNG sales business, the company said.
"The benefits of natural gas in meeting our future energy needs are well-documented, said Colin Abraham, Shell's vice president for downstream LNG.
Shell believes the liquefied natural gas (LNG) in transport sector will develop into a sizeable market, he continued.
The Gasnor acquisition provides Shell with invaluable customer and market insight built up over a number of years. This will help us to quickly develop and meet customer requirements for LNG as a transport fuel.
Through the acquisition, Shell hopes to capitalize on Gasnor's experience in LNG sales and marketing, it said, combining it with its own customer reach to target European marine customers ahead of new environmental regulations that will come into force from 2015.
These regulations will apply across the Baltic Sea, English Channel and North Sea and will require lower levels of air-quality emissions such as sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Switching to LNG can help to reduce these emissions, according to the company. Shell expects European marine LNG to be a key growth sector as customers look for cleaner, cost-competitive fuel alternatives as part of their fuel supply mix.
Shell's customer reach and Gasnor's LNG sales and marketing experience is a winning combination, said Eilef Stange, Gasnor CEO.
There is real growth potential for small-scale LNG in Europe, particularly in the marine sector, and Gasnor with Shell is well placed to capitalize on this."