Russia's Putin to give greenlight to LNG exports to Asia, Novatek and Rosneft to benefit most

By bne IntelliNews June 23, 2013

Russia is ready to liberalise its exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in order to profit from the fast-expanding Pacific Asia market, the Russian president Vladimir Putin said at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. Limitations on LNG exports will be gradually lifted, he added. Currently, the state-controlled Gazprom holds a monopoly on gas exports from Russia. Lifting  the monopoly at least for the LNG supplies to Asia was anticipated this year.

Last month, deputy PM Arcady Dvorkovich, who curates the Fuel and Energy sector in the government, said that the necessary legislative amendments for liberalising exports of LNG could be passed already this year. Most of Russia’s natural gas is exported through pipelines, with the only LNG plant operated by Gazprom in Sakhalin.

Russia’s second largest gas producer Novatek is developing the Yamal LNG plant based on the South-Tambey gas field of the Yamanl peninsula, planned to be finished in 2017, with expected capacity of 16.5mn tonnes of LNG annually. Novatek holds 80% and French Total 20% in Yamal LNG plant. It was announced by the company that China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is going to get a 20% stake in the project. Novatek has also reached preliminary agreements on long-term supplies of gas to China.

Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft is also seeking to benefit from the LNG exports. Recently, the company has been actively building up its natural gas resource base. It has announced ambitious long-term plans on the domestic gas supply market as well as the acquisition of the domestic gas producer Itera. At the St Petersburg Economic Forum, Rosneft announced plans to build an LNG plant together with ExxonMobil in Russia’s Far East region by 2018. Moreover, non-binding LNG supply deals were signed with Japanese Marubeni Corp and Vitol trader.

In the meantime, the country’s largest natural gas producer Gazprom is also developing LNG projects. The company announced its plans to build gas liquefaction plant on the Baltic Sea. The output from the plant is to be exported to Europe and Latin America. It also considers joint LNG projects with British Petroleum.

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