Russia's Timchenko looks east for new gas markets, scoffs at sanctions

MOSCOW, April 12 Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:30am EDT

MOSCOW, April 12 (Reuters) - Russia's No.2 gas producer Novatek is exploring with Chinese partners the option of selling them gas in exchange for yuan instead of dollars or euros, Novatek co-owner Gennady Timchenko told Russian television.

Asked about dropping the dollar and euro for gas sales as part of the Kremlin's move to loosen ties with the West, Timchenko said: "We are already analysing the situation and are conducting negotiations with our counter-parties.

"We are ready for this. And it seems that our Chinese partners are ready to consider this seriously," he said in a transcript of the interview with the state-run Rossiya TV station's show Vesti on Saturday with Sergei Brilyov.

Timchenko, who was included on a U.S. list of people subject to asset freezes and visa bans after Russia's annexation of Crimea, said the measures were causing "minor difficulties" for his company, but that he saw the sanctions as badge of honour for him personally. (Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Alessandra Prentice)

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