NOVO-OGARYOVO, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russian oil giant Rosneft’s head Igor Sechin urged the government on Wednesday to liberalize exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from offshore projects by ending Gazprom’s monopoly of foreign gas sales.
“Such volumes cannot be sold on the domestic market and so we are asking the government to consider liberalizing gas exports, in particular, liquefied gas,” Sechin told the presidential commission for development of the fuel and energy sector.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on Wednesday the Russian government should consider a gradual liberalization of LNG exports.
Under existing legislation, energy giant Gazprom has a monopoly on gas exports and other producer companies are obliged to sign export contracts with Gazprom structures. Russia’s largest independent gas producer Novatek has previously appealed to the government to consider ending Gazprom’s monopoly on LNG exports.
Sechin said LNG market liberalization would not immediately affect Gazprom because Russian LNG exports in the near future are primarily destined for emerging markets (such as Asia Pacific nations), and not Gazprom’s existing customers in Europe.
Russia and Japan signed a $7 billion LNG deal in September 2012 for gas supplies from an LNG plant near the Pacific port of Vladivostok.