UPDATE 1-Qatar interested in Yamal, Novatek stakes -minister
(Adds quotes, Novatek background)
DOHA Nov 15 (Reuters) - Qatar is considering taking a stake in Russia's No. 2 gas producer Novatek, the Gulf Arab country's energy minister said on Tuesday.
"We are looking at a stake in Novatek as well as in the Yamal project," Qatari energy minister Mohammed al-Sada told reporters on sidelines of a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Doha.
"We are interested in both, Yamal as well as Novatek," Sada said, but declined to specify the size of the potential stake. "We are engaged in discussions with both."
Novatek declined to comment on the remarks.
Qatar, which with an annual production capacity of 77 million tonnes is the world's leading LNG exporter, was struggling to find buyers for all of it until a tsunami wrecked Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant in March, driving up gas demand.
"We are open to (partnerships) with Russian companies, especially Gazprom. We are interested in partnering with these companies in projects outside Qatar," Sada said.
Qatar had indicated on Sunday that it was in negotiations to take a stake in the Yamal project, an Arctic liquefied natural gas (LNG) project under development by Novatek.
The Yamal project will develop the South Tambey field located in the Arctic area of the Yamal peninsula.
Resources from the condensate and gas field are expected to produce 5 million tonnes of LNG per year when production starts in 2016 and reach 15 million tonnes per year in 2018. (Reporting by Regan Doherty)