By ANDREY OSTROUKH
Russia will liberalize exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the beginning of next year, bringing to an end the monopoly of gas giant OAO Gazprom, the country's energy minister said in an interview published Tuesday.
Alexander Novak told Kommersant that amendments to the export law introducing liberalization should be passed to the government in the coming weeks with measures in place from January 1, 2014.
President Vladimir Putin said in June that Russia should liberalize the LNG market, allowing companies other than state-controlled Gazprom to sell gas abroad.
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said the opening up of exports will allow Russia to enter the market "at the right time." He also said that liberalization would speed up the three major projects planned by Gazprom, OAO Novatek and OAO Rosneft by increasing competition.
Russian companies have already signed large-scale deals with Asian partners. In June, Novatek signed a deal to ship gas from its planned Arctic liquefaction plant to China National Petroleum Corp., which acquired a 20% stake in the project.
Also, state oil firm OAO Rosneft signed agreements to ship LNG to Japan, as well as agreeing to supply China with 15 million metric tons/yr of crude oil for 25 years, at just over $10 billion/yr.
Dow Jones Newswires