July 20, 2011 / 11:56 AM / 7 years ago

Russia approves Total entering Arctic gas project

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia, July 20 (Reuters) - Russia approved Total’s (TOTF.PA) participation in an Arctic gas project on Wednesday, an antitrust official said, exempting the French oil major from laws limiting foreign investment in strategic sectors.

Total needed state approval to join Russian producer Novatek’s NOTK.MM project to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Arctic Yamal peninsula by 2015-2016 because the development of Yamal’s gas deposits is “strategic” for Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who chaired the government’s commission on foreign investment on Wednesday, said total investment in the project would be no less than 1 trillion roubles ($35.66 billion).

In March, Total agreed to pay $4 billion for a 12 percent stake in Novatek and join its Arctic gas project.

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Jessica Bachman

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