By JAKE RUDNITSKY
Russian lawmakers voted to end state-controlled OAO
Gazproms monopoly on exports of liquefied natural gas
(LNG) as competitors plan to build plants to produce the
The bill was passed in the last two of three readings by
lawmakers in the lower house of parliament on Friday. Once
signed into law, it will allow OAO Novatek and OAO Rosneft to
ship tankers of the fuel to foreign markets as Russia seeks
to double its share of the global LNG market by 2020.
President Vladimir Putin in June called for the gas export
laws to be eased to take advantage of a window in the Asia-
Pacific market before supplies begin from the US, Australia
and Africa. Since Putin granted Gazprom the exclusive legal
right to ship gas abroad in 2006 to avoid undermining export
prices, the monopoly hasnt started building any LNG
To remain competitive on global gas markets, Russia
needs to add an LNG component to its export strategy,
Ildar Davletshin, an analyst at Renaissance Capital in
Moscow, said today by phone. If you look at the project
pipeline in Australia and
East Africa, Russia risks losing out.
The draft law will grant access to LNG exports to those
companies developing fields with licenses that stipulate the
gas is intended for LNG as well as state companies producing
from offshore blocks, and could take effect as soon as Dec.
1, according to a copy on the website of parliaments
lower house, the State Duma.
After the president signs the law, Novatek will have control
over exports from the $20 billion Yamal LNG project
that its developing
with Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp.
The gas producer, controlled by billionaires Gennady
Timchenko and Leonid Mikhelson, plans to send its first
commercial shipments in the first half of 2017, Yamal LNG
Marketing & Shipping Director Gabriel Brecque said in
Paris on Nov. 20.
State-controlled Rosneft and ExxonMobil are planning to start
an LNG plant with capacity of 5 million metric tons on
Sakhalin Island in the Pacific by the end of the decade.
Russia aims to produce at least 40 million tpy, or more than
11% of the worlds LNG, by 2020 -- up from about 5% now,
Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov said at a September
conference on Sakhalin, where Gazprom bought into the
countrys only plant for the fuel in 2006. The plant
began output in 2009.