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Russia’s Novatek Hits Major Milestones In Arctic LNG Plans

Russian gas producer Novatek closed on Monday the sale of stakes in its Arctic LNG 2 project, just days after Russia’s government approved the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) transshipment terminal that would help Novatek boost LNG exports from its operating and future LNG projects.

Novatek, the largest Russian producer and exporter of LNG, announced today the closure of the stake sales to two Chinese companies and a Japanese consortium.

In April, Novatek signed agreements with two Chinese companies, under which the Asian firms will become shareholders in the Arctic LNG project with 10 percent each. In June, Novatek signed a deal to sell another 10 percent in the project to a consortium of Mitsui & Co and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC).

Earlier this year, France’s Total, a partner of Novatek in the producing Yamal LNG project, signed a deal to buy a direct 10-percent interest in Arctic LNG 2. The project’s final investment decision (FDI) is expected to be made in the second half of 2019, with plans to start up the first liquefaction train in 2023, according to the French oil and gas major.

Commenting on today’s closure of stake sales, Novatek’s Chairman of the Management Board, Leonid Mikhelson, said on Monday:

“We now have formed the structure of the Project’s participants by successfully closing the sale of interests in Arctic LNG 2.”  

“The target level of NOVATEK’s participation has been reached, allowing us to make the final investment decision and optimally use the Company's cash flow to finance our new projects,” Mikhelson added.  

Today’s closing of stake sales comes days after Russia approved the construction of Novatek’s transshipment terminal in the region of Murmansk, with construction license expected next year and actual construction taking place between 2020 and 2023.

Novatek plans LNG transshipment terminals in Murmansk and Kamchatka to reduce expenditures on LNG projects, including the Yamal LNG and the Arctic LNG 2 projects.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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