June 20, 2013 / 3:03 PM / 4 years ago

Russian tycoon picks Asia for Novatek, Gunvor gas expansion

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 20 (Reuters) - Trading house Gunvor is seeking to expand in liquefied natural gas in Asia, its co-owner, Russian tycoon Gennady Timchenko said on Thursday, as he prepares to launch a major project in Russia and is pressing the Kremlin to lift monopoly on LNG exports.

Novatek, Russia’s No.2 gas producer, majority-owned by Timchenko and chief executive Leonid Mikhelson, is building a $20-billion LNG plant on the Yamal peninsula.

It would become Russia’s second only plant after the Sakhalin-2 facility of the state gas export monopoly Gazprom’s .

Novatek and state oil major Rosneft are pressing the government to grant them rights to export LNG. As for now, Gazprom enjoys a monopoly on exports of both pipeline and liquefied gas.

“We are not stepping on Gazprom’s toes. But I think we may participate (in export) where Gazprom is not present,” Timchenko told a small group of reporters.

Gazprom has previously also identified Asia as the key growth market for LNG demand. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova; editing by Dmitry Zhdannikov and James Jukwey)

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