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Gazprom, Shell May Delay Exports of Russia’s First LNG Cargo



By Dinakar Sethuraman

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) — Japanese utilities may face a delay in receiving the first liquefied-natural gas cargoes from an OAO Gazprom-led project in Russia, an official said.

Sakhalin Energy Co. may start shipments of the clean-burning fuel by March from Sakhalin-2 project north of Japan, after final commissioning of the facilities next month, a Tokyo Electric Power Corp. official said today by phone, requesting anonymity because of company rules. The first cargoes had been due to be shipped in January, Gazprom said in June last year.

Gazprom, which currently exports to European customers via pipelines, aims to become a global energy supplier by selling LNG, gas chilled to a liquid for shipment by tanker. The delay in supplies may not affect customers because a global recession has reduced demand for gas from power plants and industries, increasing inventories.

Loading will begin on Feb. 19 at the $22-billion development off Russia’s Pacific coast in a process that will take several weeks, Gazprom’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev told Bloomberg News on Dec. 19. In June, Gazprom said LNG exports from Sakhalin Island near Japan will start “no later than January.”

Sakhalin Energy said on Jan. 15 that it started gas production from its Lunskoye area, 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) northeast of Sakhalin Island, which will be piped to onshore facilities and chilled to convert to LNG for exports.

Tokyo Electric has agreed to buy as much as 1.2 million tons a year of LNG from Sakhalin-2 for 22 years, according to Sakhalin Energy’s Web site. A majority of the 9.6 million tons a year of capacity is earmarked for Japanese utilities including Tokyo Gas Co., Chubu Electric Power Co. and Osaka Gas Co., with the rest supplied to Korea Gas Corp. and customers in North America.

Gazprom owns 50 percent plus one share of Sakhalin Energy Co. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has 27.5 percent, Mitsui & Co. holds 12.5 percent and Mitsubishi Corp. has 10 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dinakar Sethuraman in Singapore at[email protected].

Last Updated: January 26, 2009 22:34 EST

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