Novatek Said to Seek Chinese Buyers for Yamal LNG Stake, Exports

OAO Novatek may offer a stake in its planned Yamal LNG project to Chinese companies as Russia’s second-biggest natural gas producer starts talks on sales of liquefied natural gas to Asia, according to two people with knowledge of the meetings.

Leonid Mikhelson, Novatek’s billionaire chief executive officer, and Energy Minister Alexander Novak met with China Petrochemical Corp. and other companies during Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich’s visit to the Asian country this week, said two people in the delegation who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Talks will now begin with Chinese companies individually, one of the people said. Novak participated in the meetings to show the Russian government’s support for the Yamal LNG project, the person said.

Novatek is seeking LNG sales as it raises funding for the $20 billion Yamal project and may add a partner to the venture, in which Total SA holds a 20 percent stake. The Russian company plans to keep at least 51 percent of the Arctic project to cool gas to a liquid for shipment by tanker to Asian and European markets.

Novatek and the Energy Ministry’s press service declined to comment on the talks when called by Bloomberg.

China Petrochemical Chairman Fu Chengyu met with Novak yesterday, said Sinopec, as the Chinese company is known, in an online newsletter. Sinopec plans to expand cooperation with Russian companies in oil and gas production and trade, Fu said in the statement, without elaborating.

The Russian delegation is also visiting South Korea, the two people said. Talks with Korea Gas Corp., the country’s state-owned LNG importer, also touched on Yamal LNG, according to one of the people.