SOCHI, May 11. /TASS/. The issue of natural gas export liberalization requires thorough analysis, co-owner of the Russian natural gas producer Novatek Gennady Timchenko said on Tuesday.
"Everybody is interested but it’s not the fact we should demand it now. Our balances, Gazprom, its infrastructure and the operating procedure should be considered very thoroughly. This is a complex matter," Timchenko said.
"I am the co-owner of the company, all the questions [should be addressed] to Mikhelson [Novatek CEO - TASS]," Timchenko said responding to the question whether Novatek management is holding negotiations with Gazprom on this matter.
Russian independent gas producers have a right to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) without intermediation of the Russian gas holding Gazprom. At the same time, Gazprom is the monopolist of pipeline gas export.
The Russian Ministry of Economic Development told TASS on Tuesday that full liberalization of the natural gas export may not be discussed earlier than 2018 and it is optimal to keep supplies through a single channel in current environment.
"It’s worth to note that it will be optimal in current macroeconomic environment [significant oil prices drop and higher LNG offer across the globe - TASS] to keep the pipeline gas export through the single export channel. There is a need to analyze efficiency of the decision already made regarding the LNG export liberalization prior to viewing the possibility for full liberalization of the natural gas export. It may be done only after 2018, when the LNG Plant on the Yamal [Peninsula] will be put into service and obligations to provide gas to the domestic market are redistributed among all its participants," the Ministry said.
At the same time, independent gas producers have an opportunity now to export gas through execution of the agency agreement with Gazprom but "this is the matter between two business companies," the Ministry added.