Japanese companies may join the Sakhalin-III gas project off Russia's Pacific Coast as part of a large energy deal, which Russia and Japan plan to sign in the next twelve months, a Japanese government source said on Wednesday.
"There is a possibility that Russia and Japan will make such a deal within a year. We are working on it," the source said.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the government in March to expedite the implementation of the Sakhalin-III project to help Japan meet its energy demand after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis in the country.
The gas resources of the Sakhalin III project are estimated at some 1.4 trillion cubic meters. Most of them are concentrated in the Kirinsky block.
Gazprom holds licenses for the Kirinsky, Ayashsky and Vostochno-Odoptinsky blocks within the project and for the Kirinskoye gas and condensate field.
The other parnters in the project are Russian top oil producer Rosneft and China's Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), which are jointly developing the Veninsky oil and gas block.