Russian gas company Novatek may refuse to admit a third partner to the Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, as the conditions offered by Qatar are inadequate, Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson said on Tuesday.
"Yamal LNG obtained very good long-term tax incentives - a zero mineral extraction tax rate for gas. We shall see whether (giving) a relatively large stake in the project (to) other partners is reasonable. I am not ready to answer this question at the moment. Neither we nor our partner (France's) Total are bothered by the presence or absence of other partners," Mikhelson said.
Novatek holds a 51% stake in the project, while Novatek's affiliate Novatek North-West has 29%. Total owns 20% of Yamal LNG's shares.
Mikhelson added that Qatar was interested in participating in the project but it offered unsuitable conditions with regards to the guarantees required of the Russian party.
The project involves the development of the South-Tambeyskoye gas condensate field and the construction of an LNG plant. The project also envisages the construction of a sea port in the locality of Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula and a fleet of tankers.
Novatek plans to announce an international tender to construct the LNG plant, Yevgeny Kot, director of the company's department for LNG project development, told reporters.
"We have begun to prepare the tender. Here is a huge set of documents, a big international tender among the companies that are participants of the so called LNG club," he said.
According to Mikhelson, the front-end engineering design stage was almost complete. The contract of equipment supply was signed at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum held earlier in June; the advanced payment must be made by the end of 2012, which may impact the timeline of the entire project.
Mikhelson also said that the funds required to finance the project may be attracted in 2013-2014. Sberbank, Gazprombank, and Societe Generale were appointed as consultants, he added.
Copyright 2012 Prime-Tass Business News Agency. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published June 26, 2012, in Prime-Tass English-language Business Newswire.)