Russia's Putin approves LNG exports for Gazprom's rivals

Mon Dec 2, 2013 12:18pm IST

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* Law takes effect from Dec. 1, 2013

* Novatek, Rosneft to benefit from amendments

MOSCOW Dec 2 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law amendments that will allow rivals of state-owned Gazprom to export liquefied natural gas (LNG), bolstering hopes for Russia to boost its share of the global LNG market.

The changes to rules on gas exports and foreign trade, published by the state's law information site on Monday, will enable Russia's No.2 gas producer Novatek and top oil firm Rosneft to launch LNG projects.

The measure took effect from Dec. 1 2013, the document said.

Putin has urged Russian companies to develop production of seaborne LNG and increase their global reach to diversify gas supplies away from Europe, which has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

Gazprom's monopoly on pipeline gas exports, which are currently pumped only to Europe, stays untouched.

Russia wants to double its share in the global LNG market by 2020 from 4.5 percent. Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell own Russia's only LNG plant, on the Pacific island of Sakhalin, which produces 10 million tonnes of the super-cooled gas a year. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Elizabeth Piper)

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