Russia's Novatek wins license for Arctic gas field

MOSCOW, March 14 Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:11am EDT

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MOSCOW, March 14 (Reuters) - Russia's second-largest gas producer Novatek said on Thursday its subsidiary had won an exploration and production license for an Arctic gas field, in line with plans to increase its resource base.

Novatek, in which France's Total owns around 15 percent, said it would pay 3.19 billion roubles ($103.60 million) for the rights to the East-Tazovskoye field.

Novatek's Moscow-traded shares jumped 2.4 percent on the news.

The Arctic is an important source of oil and gas production in Russia, where earnings from oil and gas sales account for half of state budget revenues.

The field, located in Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, is close to Novatek's existing asset base and will create certain synergies for the company, which plans to launch a plant to liquefy natural gas in 2016-2017.

As of Jan. 1, 2012, the field's recoverable reserves under Russian reserve classification "C1 + C2" (explored and preliminarily estimated) stood at 65.3 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 13.4 million tonnes of liquid hydrocarbons.

Last year, Novatek boosted the life of its reserves to 31 years from 25 years previously thanks to acquisitions and successful exploration.

Novatek has so far failed to secure the rights to gas exports, over which state-owned Gazprom currently has a monopoly.

($1 = 30.7927 Russian roubles) (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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