Gazprom says Japan firms on Sakhalin 3 project list: report

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Russia's state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom has hinted it may invite Japanese firms to participate in the Sakhalin 3 project if foreign support is deemed necessary, a local paper said Tuesday.

Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev told Japan's Nikkei business daily that his shortlist includes Japanese trading giants Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. as well as Royal Dutch Shell plc.

Medvedev called the Sakhalin 2 project, in which liquefied natural gas output has reached full capacity, "a good example of Russia-Japan cooperation," the report said.

In the Sakhalin 3 project, Gazprom is now test-drilling the Kirinsky field by itself.

Medvedev said that if Gazprom needs foreign help for the project, it will give first consideration to its Sakhalin 2 partners, saying it is "convinced that we can work with our Sakhalin 2 partners."

He also said that rights to the Sakhalin 3 project will be awarded "in principle through asset swaps," the Nikkei report said.

The asset swaps are in line with Gazprom's ongoing strategy, in which it is trying to push global expansion by obtaining stakes in foreign energy projects owned by prospective partners.

© 2010 AFP

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