Russia’s Novak Visiting Japan to Discuss Oil, Gas Projects

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak will meet Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi tomorrow in Tokyo to discuss cooperation in oil and gas projects, the ministry said in an e-mail.

Novak is also scheduled to meet officials at Japanese energy companies to discuss the planned $20 billion Yamal LNG plant and other projects, said four people with knowledge of the meetings. They asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Russian billionaire Leonid Mikhelson will accompany Novak on the trip, one of the people said. Mikhelson is chief executive officer of OAO Novatek, which holds 80 percent of the Yamal project. Total SA is a partner in the plan to build the LNG plant by 2017 in Russia’s arctic region. Novatek, Russia’s biggest gas producer after OAO Gazprom, may seek investors in the project, two of the people said.

The Russian company may offer a stake in the Yamal project to Chinese companies, two people with knowledge of the matter said in February. Novatek is also in talks with companies including Electricite de France SA about participating, Mikhelson said in January.

The Russian company is in an advanced talks on LNG sales from Yamal and about 80 percent of the gas is ready for signing contracts, Mikhelson said yesterday on a conference call.

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