(Adds details, merges with a previous story)
* Russia is able to ship 60 bcm of gas yearly to Asia
* Rosneft's CEO Sechin says no impact from sanctions
By Alexei Anishchuk
BLAGOVESHENSK, Russia, May 22 Russia could
significantly boost its natural gas sales to Asia if companies
other than Kremlin-controlled Gazprom secured
exporting rights, documents from Russia's top oil producer
President Vladimir Putin has urged domestic companies to
forge closer ties with energy hungry Asia as European markets,
which have been the key selling point of oil and gas from
Russia, intensify their search for alternative supplies after
imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
Gazprom clinched a long-awaited $400 billion deal on
Wednesday to sell 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to China
annually starting from 2018. The company has monopoly rights to
sell Russia gas abroad via pipelines.
According to the documents, seen by Reuters, Rosneft said
Russia would be able to boost gas sales to Asia to over 60 bcm
per year by 2025 if other companies were allowed to export the
fuel. This is compared to the over 160 bcm Gazprom supplied to
the European Union and Turkey last year.
Rosneft has long been looking to break Gazprom's monopoly on
gas exports and last year managed to secure rights to ship
sea-borne liquefied natural gas abroad.
The documents, part of a presentation for Rosneft's
Southeast Asian expansions plans, also showed that Rosneft
estimates far-flung eastern Siberia gas reserves at 7 trillion
cubic metres and sees the region's long-term producing potential
at 200 billion cubic metres a year.
Russia's push towards Asia comes as West has introduced
Ukraine-related sanctions, including on Rosneft's Chief
Executive Officer Igor Sechin, who said the measures so far had
failed to hurt his work with U.S. partners or him personally.
Saying he had no accounts or property in the United States,
Sechin told reporters: "So they (the sanctions) have a
theoretical character for me personally. We will continue to
work and this has no impact on our work with American partners.
We appreciate the cooperation."
Rosneft is jointly working with ExxonMobil and both
companies are scheduled to start offshore exploration drilling
in the Russian Arctic in August.
Sechin also said Rosneft had not initiated a push to
privatise a stake in the company, but would go along with it if
the government so wished, hinting at his dissatisfaction at
reports that Russia could sell 19.5 percent of the oil producer.
"First of all, I would like to draw your attention to the
fact that we do not comment on statements from federal
bureaucrats ... but we are ready to fulfil any directive," he
said in Russia's far eastern city of Blagoveshensk.
(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin,
editing by Elizabeth Piper)