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Russian watchdog says technical issues delay approval of Gazprom Neft-Shell venture

MOSCOW, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog said on Thursday it had delayed its approval of a joint venture between Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft and Royal Dutch Shell for technical reasons.

The watchdog said this month it was delaying by three months Shell's purchase of 9.3 billion roubles ($145.73 million) worth of shares in Gazprom Neft subsidiary Meretoyakhaneftegaz.

Shell is expected to buy a 50% stake in Meretoyakhaneftegaz, which holds licensing rights to the Meretoyakhinskoye oil field. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Edmund Blair)