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India Considering Stake In Giant Yamal LNG Project

Novatek LNG train

India could become a shareholder in Russia’s Yamal liquefied natural gas project, according to a report by Press Trust of India on Sunday.

Russian officials shared the details of the deal to oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan last month, when the official made a trip to St. Petersburg. Currently, Petronet LNG has been made privy to the fundamentals of the contract, though sources cited said state-owned Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) could be joining in the near future.

A 2013 offer by Novatek would have allowed Petronet, IOC and ONGC Videsh Ltd. to buy a total of nine percent of the project, but the Indian consortium rejected the offer at the time, calling it unattractive.

The current shareholder structure for the Yamal project gives the Russian firm Novatek a 50.1 percent stake, the French oil major Total a 20 percent stake, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation a 20 percent stake and the Silk Route Fund a 9.9 percent stake.

The project would produce a new liquefied natural gas plant with an annual capacity of 16.5 million tons per year, based on analysis conducted on the South Tambeyskoye field.

An estimate produced in December 2014 said almost one trillion cubic meters of natural gas could lay beneath the ground in the region.

Earlier this summer, the mega-project’s visionaries announced funding deals that would allow partners to begin construction despite international sanctions against Russia.

Yamal’s Director General said that the project consortium signed a loan agreement with China Exim Bank and the China Development Bank. The banks extended a 15-year loan to the project in the amount of 9.3 billion euros - or about 75 percent of the estimated total funds that Yamal needed to get into production and represented a major step toward getting the project off the ground.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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