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Russian Oligarchs At War Over LNG

While Shell’s ~$17-billion Australian LNG project, Prelude, hasn’t produced since February after shipping its first product in June 2019 and no one knows when it will be restored due to the pandemic market, Russian LNG has an entirely different problem--politics. 

Homegrown LNG has been threatening to steal European gas market share from Gazprom’s piped gas, in a situation that has Putin playing his oligarchs off against each other. Three companies are vying for this market--Gazprom, Rosneft and Novatek--and they’re all government-backed. 

Last year, and long before the pandemic crushed demand, Novatek managed to supply more LNG to Europe than any of its competitors. This sparked a massive feud that saw Gazprom accuse Novatek of cheating the government on taxes. Today, Gazprom has another LNG threat: Rosneft, which is trying to acquire fields in the Russian Arctic that would add yet more LNG supply to rival Gazprom’s piped gas. 

Now, Rosneft is coming up against a brick wall in its attempt to buy three gas fields that could further upset Gazprom’s dominance, and the ministries are involved. The three Russian Arctic fields in question are Deryabinskoye, Turkovskoye and Kazantsevskoye, and the end game would be to run Rosneft LNG from these fields through the Northern Sea Route. 

But Gazprom, already under threat from Novatek’s LNG market share in Europe, isn’t having it. Gazprom wants…

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