Russia's Novatek increases stake in Yamal LNG

Russia’s OAO Novatek said it increased its equity interest in the Yamal LNG project to 100% from 51% by exercising call options through wholly owned subsidiary Novatek North West.

Novatek said it increased its stake through two call options: one for 23.9% purchased in 2009 and the other for 25.1% purchased in March. It said the options' strike price would be paid in installments ending on June 30, 2012.

On Sept. 30, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Middle Eastern companies are interested in joining the Yamal LNG project.

“Our Arab partners are holding negotiations with Novatek and a Qatar oil and gas producer is asking to be included in the list of shareholders, but there are other partners as well,” Sechin said.

In August, Novatek Chief Financial Officer Mark Gyetvay announced plans to produce as much as 50-51 billion cu m of gas in 2011, up slightly from its previous forecast of 48.9 billion cu m, as a result of strong domestic demand.

Analyst IHS Global Insight underlined Gyetvay’s remarks, saying that the company is aiming to extract more gas from its key fields in the Yamal-Nenets region with an eye towards meeting higher domestic consumption requirements.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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