Putin undecided whether to run as an independent or not

Ice-breaking LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie

Putin had said that Russian Federation was capable of occupying a worthy niche in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and should do just that. On Friday, he will witness the loading of the first custom-built icebreaking tanker from the Yamal LNG plant in a region that potentially contains more gas than the Persian Gulf, flanked by a delegation that includes the energy minister of Saudi Arabia.

Putin recognized the worldwide nature of the project by thanking the foreign financiers and manufacturers who made Yamal LNG possible, and said that he "count [s] on them continuing to work together".

President Vladimir Putin boasted that he had defied critics to open the £20bn plant in the country's northern region of Yamal - a move aiming to surpass Qatar in exporting LNG.

At a recent conference, Gazprom E&P official Nikolay Kislenko warned that Novatek's planned LNG shipments to Europe could displace pipeline exports, depriving the Russian government of much-needed tax revenue.




Yamal LNG's production is sold under long-term contracts on Asian and European markets, predominantly under oil-indexed price formulas, according to Total, which will buy 4 million tons annually from the project. "If (Japan) buys gas from our portfolio clients, I will not be surprised", he said.

Operator Novatek PJSC earlier this week announced the start of production at Yamal LNG, in which Total SA, China National Petroleum Corp. and China's Silk Road Fund also hold stakes. "Total studied this project, it is a shareholder of Novatek", Mikhelson told reporters.

Yamal LNG, which is 20 percent owned by France's Total, aims to help Russian Federation double its share of the global LNG market from about 4 percent now by 2020. Three trains will have capacity of 5.5 million tonnes each and one will have capacity of 1 million tonnes.

Novatek is planning another project, known as Arctic LNG, on the Gydan peninsula. Yamal LNG will become Novatek's first LNG plant. Other phases are due to onstream in 2018 and 2019. Its capacity will be 18 million tonnes of LNG per year (three trains each with the capacity of 6 million tonnes per year). "With remarkably low upstream costs, Yamal LNG is one of the world's most competitive LNG projects".

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