MOSCOW, April 21 Novatek, Russia's
largest non-state natural gas producer, is seeking to increase
its resource base to stabilise gas output and keep its domestic
market share steady, Leonid Mikhelson, head of the company, said
Mikhelson also said import-export agencies from Germany and
Sweden had agreed to help finance the Yamal LNG project, though
he declined to disclose details.
Yamal LNG, with total inward investment set at $27 billion,
has almost completed fund-raising thanks mainly to investors
Novatek is the main shareholder in Yamal LNG, which is due
to start producing liquefied natural gas this year, with a stake
of 50.1 percent.
Mikhelson, Russia's richest businessman according to Forbes
magazine, said the company was looking to boost its resources in
the Arctic Yamal region, which accounts for around 70 percent of
Russian gas resources.
"We are looking into the possibility, apart from the
creation of a resource base for Yamal LNG, of creating an
additional resource base in the region to increase our
production potential," he told reporters before Novatek's annual
general meeting in Moscow.
"I think by the end of the year we will be able to form that
resource base, which will allow us to keep gas production at a
steady plateau in the region and keep our share of the domestic
Last year, Mikhelson assessed Novatek's share of Russian gas
production at 9 to 10 percent. He said its share of the domestic
supply market, where state-owned Gazprom is a dominant
force, was around 20 percent.
In 2016, Novatek's gas production declined by 2.7 percent to
66.1 billion cubic metres, while output of liquids, or crude oil
and gas condensate, jumped by 36.8 percent to 12.4 million
France's Total and China National Petroleum Corp
each control 20 percent of Yamal LNG, while China's Silk Road
Fund owns 9.9 percent.
(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin;
Editing by Dale Hudson)