* Rosneft, DSME signed shipbuilding MOU as part of LNG deal
* Two countries set up joint investment funds of over $2 bln
* Funds to support shipbuilding deal in Russia
(Adds details on further deals signed, quotes)
By Ju-min Park and Alexei Anishchuk
SEOUL, Nov 13 Russia plans to award South Korean
shipbuilders a contract to build 13 or more liquefied natural
gas (LNG) carriers as part of efforts to increase business
between the world's top gas producer and the second biggest LNG
The announcement from South Korea's presidential office on
Wednesday came during Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to
Seoul for a summit with South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye.
As part of the agreement, Russian energy giant Rosneft
, Russian vessel operator SovComFlot, Gazprombank
and South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine
Engineering Co Ltd (DSME) agreed to set up a ship
building yard in Russia.
Russia and South Korea also agreed that potential supplies
of natural gas to Seoul via pipeline would be driven by
"economic viability" without elaborating. Talks about such a
pipeline have previously seen little progress because it would
likely have to pass through North Korea.
"The decisions to supply Russian pipeline gas to South Korea
in the mid-term and long-term prospective will take into account
the availability of resources, economic viability and other
preconditions necessary for the fulfilment of this project," a
separate joint statement by the two parties said.
State-run Korea Gas Corp, the world's largest
corporate buyer of LNG, currently has a deal to import 1.5
million tonnes of LNG a year from the Pacific Island of Sakhalin
through 2028, the company and government data showed.
South Korea imported over 36 million tonnes of LNG last
year. Russia accounted for 6 percent of the total.
To enhance bilateral business, the two countries also agreed
to allow visa-free visits for 60 days.
RAFT OF MOUs
Russian delegates have signed a raft of MOUs, including one
between Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB,
and Korea Exim Bank (KEXIM) to set up a $1 billion fund for
energy, infrastructure, shipbuilding and other projects,
according to the statement from the Korean presidential office.
State-run Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Korea
Investment Corp (KIC) will also set up a joint investment fund
initially for $500 million and to exceed $1 billion in the
future, the statement and a source close to the deal said.
Cash from the RDIF and KIC fund will be used to support the
shipbuilding deal to produce vessels in partnership with Koreans
as agreed on Wednesday.
"We are looking at the project where SovComFlot will in
partnership with the Koreans produce vessels that are of
interest to Yamal LNG," said the source, adding that the tankers
produced will be leased to Yamal LNG.
Yamal LNG by Russia's Novatek, France's Total
and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), is set to
start producing LNG in 2016 with a view to supplying 16.5
million tonnes of the tanker-shipped fuel by 2018.
State-run Russian Railways, POSCO, Korea
Railroad Corp and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd
also agreed to develop train and port businesses for the
transhipment of goods in Rajin and Khasan, the Korean
presidential office statement said.
Russia re-opened a railway link from the Russian eastern
border town of Khasan to the North Korean port of Rajin with
North Korea in September, holding out the prospect of increased
trade for the reclusive nation with its biggest neighbours after
years of international sanctions.
(Additional reporting by Jack Kim, Jane Chung and Meeyoung Cho;
Editing by David Chance and Tom Hogue)