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Novatek set to account for 40% of Russia's gas output in 5 years

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LONDON, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest independent gas producer Novatek is set to increase its share in Russian gas production to 40% in the next five years, Novatek's Chief Finance Officer Mark Gyetvay said on Tuesday.

Novatek currently trails Russian energy giant Gazprom accounting for around 29% of the country's gas output, Gyetvay told an international oil conference underway in London.

The official said that Novatek produced 28.5 million cubic meters of natural gas in 2007 and was planning to produce 45.8 million cubic meters in 2010.

Gyetvay said more opportunities were opening up in Russia for independent gas producers. Unlike Gazprom, they do not have to sell gas on the domestic market at fixed prices.

In addition, growing demand for natural gas in Russia and abroad is opening up new export possibilities for independent gas companies. Access to the gas transportation systems is currently being negotiated.

The Novatek official also said taxes were less severe on gas producers than on oil companies, which should encourage investment in the future.

Gyetvay added that independent gas producers and oil companies developing the gas market would account for all increases in Russian gas supplies in the mid-term.

Established in 1994, Novatek handles the prospecting, production and refining of gas and liquid hydrocarbons. Its gas fields are located in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area, which has the world's largest natural gas reserves. The region accounts for over 90% of Russian natural gas output and around 20% of global gas production.

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