Total Eyes Up to 25 Pct in Russia Yamal LNG

Source: Reuters 7/16/2010, Location: Asia

French oil major Total is looking for a 20 to 25 percent stake in Russia's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, Yamal, Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie was quoted saying in an interview with Kommersant.

"We won't be the majority owner, because Novatek is keeping more than 50 percent. But in this case 25 percent is a sufficient share to effectively fulfil the role of a shareholder," de Margerie told the Russian business daily.

Novatek, Russia's No. 2 gas producer said on Thursday it was looking to sell a 49 percent stake in its LNG project in the hydrocarbon-rich region on Russia's arctic Yamal Peninsula to several foreign partners.

Total also owns a quarter of the shares in the Gazprom-led company, which will develop Russia's giant Shtokman gas field.

Other international companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, have also expressed interest in partnering with Novatek on Yamal, where Novatek owns licences to large natural gas reserves.

Novatek bought into Yamal LNG last year, when it acquired 51 percent of the company, which holds the right to develop Yamal's South Tambey fields, with resources estimated at 1.3 trillion cubic metres.

It is not yet clear, however, if Novatek will receive the remaining 49 percent in Yamal LNG that it wants to sell to foreign firms.

Novatek can within three years exercise an option to purchase 24 percent of its shares owned by Volga Resources; the other 25 percent share is owned by Petr Kolbin, a shareholder in oil trading company Surgutex.


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