Russia eyes Arctic Yamal gas for chemical projects, LNG - minister

MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - Russia wants to use the huge natural gas resources of its Yamal peninsula in the Arctic for gas chemical projects and the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said on Friday.

Yamal, which the government claims holds more than a fifth of the world’s gas reserves, is located some 2,000 km (1,250 miles) northeast of Moscow.

Shulginov told the ministry’s in-house magazine that the government is considering several options for monetizing the vast resources.

“The most preferential scenario is the development of gas chemical projects, as well as using the resource base for making forays into new markets, namely the production of LNG,” Shulginov said.

Raising its production volumes would help Russia achieve its strategic target of LNG production of 120 million-140 million tonnes per year by 2035, he said.

Russian gas producer Novatek already has an LNG-producing plant in the region with production of around 19 million tonnes per year.

Kremlin-controlled Gazprom also produces natural gas in Yamal, piping it as far as to Western Europe. It estimates the region’s gas resources at 26.5 trillion cubic metres, enough to cover global demand for more than 6 years. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Oksana Kobzeva; Editing by Jan Harvey)