Novatek close to pick final Yamal LNG partner - paper

MOSCOW, Sept 26 Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:21am EDT

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MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Russia's largest independent gas producer Novatek is close to picking a third partner for its Yamal LNG project, with a Japanese and an Indian consortium vying for the spot, the daily Vedomosti reported on Thursday.

The paper, citing sources close to the Yamal project, said that Japan's Mitsui and Mitsubishi Corporation and an Indian consortium between ONGC Videsh, the Indian Oil Corporation and Petronet LNG are interested in the 10 percent stake that's left in the project.

In early September, Novatek secured preliminary backing from leading Chinese banks for the $20 billion Arctic Yamal LNG project.

It would be the first Russian plant built since Gazprom, the world's top producer of conventional gas, launched its Sakhalin-2 facility in 2009. It would also bring Novatek a step closer to breaking Gazprom's monopoly.

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