* Bill agreed by ministers; soon to be submitted to Duma
* Says expects Gazprom, CNPC to reach agreement by end-2013
By Jane Chung and Meeyoung Cho
DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 16 Russia expects to
liberalize its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from Jan. 1,
and a bill will be submitted to parliament shortly, Energy
Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.
Novak also said Gazprom and China National
Petroleum Corp (CNPC) are expected to reach an agreement on gas
supplies by the end of this year.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that
Russia, the world's biggest energy supplier, would press ahead
with opening up LNG exports in a move to meet growing demand
from Asia-Pacific markets.
"The work as of today has been finalised ... It has been
coordinated and agreed by all the ministries of the cabinets,
and in the near future it is going to be submitted to the State
Duma, the parliament of the Russian Federation," Novak told
reporters in a briefing during the World Energy Congress, in
"We expect the law to take effect since the first of January
Putin has said Russia is keen to expand in the region, where
gas demand is driven by China, which expects to consume up to
230 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas by 2015.
Removing restrictions on LNG exports would be a big blow to
state-controlled Gazprom, which holds a monopoly on Russia's gas
The prospect of an end to that monopoly has injected urgency
into its talks to supply China with pipeline gas, which have
gone on for more than a decade.
Last month, the two sides reached agreement on basic terms
for a deal but not on price, which has been an issue for years
as China demands a steep discount to prices paid by Western
Asked about a Gazprom deal to supply gas to China, Novak
said: "We really expect Gazprom and CNPC to reach agreement by
the end of this year."
Russian gas producer Novatek and top oil producer
Rosneft have both lobbied for LNG export rights.
Rosneft has agreed with ExxonMobil to build an LNG plant
in the Russian Far East at an estimated cost of $15 billion.