MOSCOW, December 23 (Sputnik) – A number of independent Russian energy companies, including oil major Rosneft, have requested permission for direct sales of East Siberian gas to China, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday.
Novak said that gas producers, who plan to extract about 80 billion cubic meters of gas in east Siberia annually, “want to export gas to independent companies in China.”
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said in late July that the company’s contract with China does not allow participation of independent companies and envisages only sales of Gazprom-produced gas.
For months, Rosneft has been seeking to get access to the Power of Siberia pipeline project to bring gas from eastern Siberian gas fields to China, citing the need to deliver eastern Siberian gas to consumers. By 2030, the company plans to extract 45 billion cubic meters of gas in East Siberia annually.
But according to Novak, the Power of Siberia capacity is enough only for Gazprom-produced gas.
“[The energy ministry] suggests a scheme under which independent [companies] will not export the gas on their own, Gazprom will export it instead. But it can buy gas from the independent [companies] at a fair price, allowing them to continue developing their gas fields,” the minister said.
“There is another variant: a separate, non-Gazprom pipeline that the independent companies can build themselves,” he continued.
The government plans to resume discussions on the issue in early January, Novak said.
Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom currently holds the monopoly on gas pipeline export. The company, which covers one-third of Europe's gas demand, lost the exclusive right to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) late last year.