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Gunvor May Cooperate with Novatek on LNG, Timchenko Tells Forbes

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Gunvor Group, the trading company co-founded by billionaire Gennady Timchenko, may work with OAO Novatek, which he also co-owns, on liquefied natural gas in a “very interesting project,” Forbes reported.

Novatek, Russia’s second-biggest gas producer, wants to be present in the European market, while “Europeans want to see not only Gazprom there,” Timchenko said in an interview with Forbes published on the magazine’s website today.

Timchenko declined to elaborate on the cooperation the two companies are considering, citing a confidentiality agreement, only saying it has no relation to the Yamal LNG project in the Arctic that Novatek is developing with Total SA.

Novatek, Russia’s biggest independent gas producer, is working toward getting rights to export the fuel, currently held exclusively by state-run monopoly OAO Gazprom, Timchenko said in May. Novatek, which sells all of its gas domestically, agreed in 2010 to pay a commission fee to Gazprom for shipping the super-cooled gas from Yamal LNG when it becomes operational.

In a bid to carve out a position in Europe’s gas market, the Novatek Gas & Power unit signed this year a 10-year contract for commercial trading operations with Germany’s EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG for about 2 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The contract isn’t for Russian gas, and the fuel will be bought on the spot market, Timchenko told Forbes.

Timchenko holds about 23 percent of Novatek. He said in the Forbes interview he turned into a millionaire before Vladimir Putin first became Russia’s president in 2000. The two men, while knowing each other “for many years” and “periodically meeting,” mainly at sports events, never discuss business, Timchenko told the magazine.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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