Putin launches $27B Arctic LNG project

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While he emphasized the importance of Novatek's plans to the development of Russia's economy, Putin also warned that "production and export of LNG should not lead to weakening of existing positions on the pipeline gas market".

Putin also said that LNG export projects must not lead to a reduction in the volume of gas Russian Federation exports via pipelines.

Russian independent gas producer Novatek will start deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Yamal LNG plant under major contracts on April 1, 2018, Leonid Mikhelson, head of the company, told reporters. Chinese lenders agreed to provide $12 billion to the project, the lion's share of the budget, as the nation is on the verge of surpassing South Korea to become the biggest buyer of LNG after Japan. The second and the third one will be put into operation in 2018-2019.

The project will eventually have four processing units, known as trains, with total capacity of 17.5 million tonnes a year. It envisages the launch of three trains, each with the capacity of 5.5 mln tonnes a year.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt next week to discuss expanding political, economic, energy and trade ties, officials said Thursday. It has been bought by Novatek gas and power, a Novatek subsidiary, and is likely to be shipped to China, according to Mikhelson.

Mr Al Falih witnessed the feat of engineering that Yamal LNG represents for the first time, having failed at a previous attempt during the summer when bad weather prevented him from landing. Shell holds a 20 percent stake in the project on the Pacific island of Sakhalin. The operator of the world's coldest LNG plant has been under U.S. sanctions imposed three years ago as Russia's relations with the United States soured.

Mikhelson also welcomed the participation of France's Total (owns 18.9% of Novatek and 20% in its Yamal LNG project) in construction of the second plant for the production of liquefied natural gas (the Arctic LNG-2 project).

But Russia suspended commercial flights with Egypt after a Russian passenger plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists. "With remarkably low upstream costs, Yamal LNG is one of the world's most competitive LNG projects".