Russia approves law to open up LNG exports

LNG Ship30 October 2013, News Wires – Russia’s government has approved a long-awaited law to liberalise liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports for independent companies.

Speaking to a government meeting in Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said: “Let’s hope that this will create additional scope for the whole energy industry and allow us to secure a footing in fast growing economies,” Reuters reported.

At present only Gazprom and its wholly-owned subsidiaries are permitted to export LNG out of Russia.

Energy minister Alexander Novak told the same meeting that Russia expects to boost its global market share in LNG from 4.5% to 10% by 2020 in the wake of the law change.

Russia has so far only one LNG plant – Sakhalin 2 in the country’s far east with annual capacity of 10 million tonnes – but Rosneft, Novatek and Gazprom all have plans for new LNG facilities, with the first new one to begin operations by 2017.

The law will have to be passed by both the lower and upper chambers of parliament, which are dominated by allies of President Vladimir Putin who has supported the move.

Putin will then have to sign it into law, with the energy ministry previously forecasting the measure will come into force by next year.

The Energy Ministry had earlier expected the law to come into force from 2014.

Qatar is by far the world’s largest exporter of LNG, with 105.4 billion cubic metres of exports in 2012 representing nearly a third of global LNG trade, according to BP data.

– Upstream

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