MOSCOW May 27 The head of Novatek,
Russia's largest independent gas producer, sees no chance of
winning the right to export gas via pipelines to Europe in the
near term despite getting government approval to ship
super-cooled gas out of Russia last year.
In 2013, privately owned Novatek and state-controlled
Rosneft were granted the right to ship liquefied
natural gas (LNG) out of Russia, breaking the monopoly of
Gazprom also exclusively ships gas to Europe, a right
currently being challenged by its rivals.
Responding to a question about whether he saw the
possibility of starting exports to the European gas market soon,
Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson told reporters: "I think there will
be no such possibility in the near term."
Gennady Timchenko, a shareholder with Novatek, told
reporters last week that he believed Gazprom's monopoly for
European market would be broken one day to allow gas exports
for "a Russian company" - a veiled reference for Novatek.
Novatek, which produced 62 billion cubic metres of gas last
year - equal to around a year of Italy's consumption, sells gas
to Gazprom and to other domestic consumers and is building an
LNG plant on the Yamal peninsula to start exports after 2017.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; editing by Elizabeth Piper)