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Sibur Holding May Buy Baltic LNG Project, Build Methanol Factory

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- ZAO Sibur Holding, eastern Europe’s biggest petrochemicals producer, may buy the Baltic LNG project on the Gulf of Finland and build methanol and fertilizer facilities to target export markets.

Sibur plans to buy a stake in the project from a unit of OAO Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, said a company official who declined to be identified, citing corporate policy. The timeframe for developing the site near the Primorsk port is “beyond 2015,” the official said by e-mail today.

President Dmitry Medvedev has urged companies to invest in higher-value products to decrease the economy’s dependence on raw materials exports.

Sibur may also buy out the stake held by shipper OAO Sovcomflot, the project’s other shareholder, Alexander Krasnenkov, head of Baltic LNG, said in an interview published today in Gazprom’s corporate magazine. The potential methanol plant may use 2 billion cubic meters of gas a year, he said.

Gazprom dropped the Baltic LNG project in 2008, in favor of concentrating on the Shtokman field off Russia’s Arctic coast. LNG is natural gas chilled to a liquid for transportation by ship. Gazprom and its partners in the Shtokman project plan to make an investment decision this year.

Leonid Mikhelson, the billionaire chief executive officer of gas producer OAO Novatek, bought 25 percent of Sibur last year from OAO Gazprombank, an affiliated lender of Gazprom, and plans to acquire the rest.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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