MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - The Japan-based company, Tokyo Electric, has increased the purchases of liquefied natural gas from Sakhalin Energy, a Sakhalin Energy press release says.

"The purchases of gas have been increased from the initial 1.2 million tons a year to 1.5 million tons a year in line with the agreement signed in May 2003," the press release runs.

Besides, Tokyo Electric has decided to announce about additional purchases of liquefied gas in 2007-2008 in the amount of 700,000 tons.

According to the press release, the agreement with Tokyo Electric testifies that the final decision adopted last May on investments in the second stage of Sakhalin-2, a complex oil and gas project, was right.

When speaking at a RIA Novosti press conference on Friday, Mr. Malakhov said that the first deliveries of gas to Japan within Sakhalin-2 were to begin in November 2007 in accordance with the concluded contracts.

By then, a liquefied gas plant in southern Sakhalin will be completed along with infrastructure facilities of Sakhalin-2, he remarked.

In his words, large-scale construction of these facilities (in particular an 800-km oil and gas pipeline and a shipping terminal for oil and gas) began last year. "The work is proceeding on schedule, and we have no big doubts about the implementation," said the governor.

In his words, Sakhalin-2 gives Russia the first opportunity of becoming a real player on the liquefied gas market in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Malakhov said that negotiations were under way and long-term contracts on liquefied gas deliveries to Asia-Pacific countries were being signed. Japanese companies are today the main buyers. "We are very thankful to them for the support they are giving to our Sakhalin projects," said the governor.

In his words, the opportunity of concluding contracts for gas supplies to China and Korea was also under consideration.

There are plans to extract 9.6 million tons of liquefied gas within Sakhalin-2, said Mr. Malakhov.

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