(Bloomberg) -- Shell Plc has emerged as the lead bidder to buy assets of trading firm Pavilion Energy Pte, in a deal that will bolster the supermajor’s liquefied natural gas activities.

The company is in advanced talks to buy the LNG assets from Singapore-based owner Temasek Holdings Pte, which was seeking more than $2 billion for the business, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.

The owners have been working with Barclays Plc since last year on a potential sale that would exclude the gas pipeline business, which Singapore considers a strategic asset. While discussions are in advanced stages, no final agreements have been reached and other bidders could still emerge or Temasek may decide to retain the assets, the people said.

Shell and Temasek declined to comment. Pavilion Energy didn’t immediately respond outside of normal business hours.

Shell and Saudi Aramco were shortlisted by Temasek among “handful” of companies to purchase most of the assets, Reuters reported in March. 

Temasek is the world’s ninth largest state investment firm with about $492 billion in total assets, according to SWF Institute data. 

Headquartered in Singapore, Pavilion Energy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek that trades and ships LNG in Asia and Europe, according to its website. In 2016, Singapore appointed the company as one of the two LNG importers for the country. It has since built a portfolio of LNG supply contracts. 

Shell holds the largest gas liquefaction and marketing portfolio among global energy majors, servicing almost 20% of worldwide sales, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. It’s betting demand for LNG will continue to grow, with Europe leaning more heavily on the super-chilled fuel as it replaces pipeline gas from Russia and dirtier coal. Consumption in Asia is also picking up.

--With assistance from Stephen Stapczynski.

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