Russia will not abandon its plans to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) production to 100 million tonnes a year because of U.S. sanctions, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
In a new package of sanctions announced this month, the United States targeted a major Russian entity involved in the development, operation and ownership of a massive project in Siberia known as Arctic LNG-2.
Russia is seeking to boost production of sea-borne super-cooled gas as its pipeline gas exports to Europe, once a key source of revenue for Moscow, have plummeted amid sweeping Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.
“No one in our country is going to abandon large-scale plans for this project or for similar projects. The development of LNG infrastructure is our priority in the energy sector,” Zakharova told a weekly briefing.
Russian companies have already learned to overcome such obstacles, she added.
Arctic LNG-2 would be Russia’s third large-scale LNG project and is designed to help Russia achieve its stated goal of accounting for 20% of the global LNG market by 2035, up from around 8% currently.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday that the Biden administration was working closely with partner countries over sanctions on the Arctic LNG-2 project as a January deadline looms on a wind-down of transactions with the plant.
Novatek, Russia’s largest LNG producer, has a 60% stake in the project, and plans to start production by the end of this year.
The sanctions and wind-down have drawn the attention of France’s TotalEnergies and Japan Arctic LNG – a consortium of Mitsui & Co and JOGMEC. They each hold a 10% stake in the project and are wary about the impact of the measures.
China’s CNPC and CNOOC Ltd also each have a 10% stake.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Gareth Jones)