Shell Sees Window to Expand Sakhalin LNG in Asia Market (Bloomberg Businessweek)

From: Bloomberg Business Week

By Stephen Bierman

(Updates with Brekelmans quote in second paragraph.)

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc. said its Sakhalin venture with OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas export monopoly needs to expand fast to sell liquefied natural gas to Asia at maximum profit.

There’s a window of opportunity in the Asia Pacific from 2015 to 2020, Harry Brekelmans, the head of the energy company’s Russian unit, told reporters today in Moscow. The market will tighten after that with additional LNG volumes coming from Australia, Shell spokesman Maxim Shoob said today.

Shell, Gazprom and Japanese partners Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. are considering investing in a third processing train to the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant to add capacity. Demand for LNG has soared in Japan, South Korea and other Asian markets after an earthquake and tsunami led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster and boosted Japan’s need for other fuels.

The Sakhalin project is in a position to capture this demand window, Brekelmans said.

The group will have to resolve how to supply natural gas for any additional train it seeks to build. Gazprom may seek an asset swap with a foreign partner in the project before committing further reserves off the Pacific coast of Sakhalin Island for the expansion of the LNG plant, Gazprom’s Deputy Chief Executive officer Alexander Medvedev said on Sept. 27.

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