Oil & Gas News

China Defends Role in Russian LNG Project

LNG, Russia, China

China’s stance on its involvement in Russia’s Arctic LNG-2 liquefied natural gas project is remaining firm: it should not be influenced or restricted by third-party interventions. This position was articulated today by China’s foreign ministry in light of the recent U.S. sanctions imposed on the project as a response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

In November, the United States rolled out a series of new sanctions against Moscow, targeting, among other entities, the Arctic LNG-2 project. These sanctions have had significant repercussions. Novatek, the Russian company with controlling shares in the project, has declared force majeure, a legal acknowledgment of uncontrollable events that hinder contractual obligations, citing the impact of U.S. sanctions. This information comes from sources close to the matter.

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Adding to the complications, Russian news outlet Kommersant reported that Chinese state-owned oil giants CNOOC Ltd and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), both of whom are stakeholders in the project, have also declared force majeure. This development underscores the far-reaching impact of the U.S. sanctions on the project’s stakeholders.

Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, reinforced China’s stance in a regular press conference. She emphasized that economic cooperation between China and Russia serves the interests of both nations and should remain free from external interference or limitations. Ning also stated China’s opposition to unilateral sanctions and the exercise of jurisdiction beyond international law.

The Arctic LNG-2 project, initially scheduled to commence production in early 2024, represents a significant collaboration involving multiple global players. Russian firm Novatek holds a 60% stake in the project. The remaining ownership is divided among several international companies, including CNOOC and CNPC, each with a 10% stake. French energy giant TotalEnergies and a Japanese consortium comprising Mitsui & Co and JOGMEC also hold equal stakes in the project.

The situation surrounding the Arctic LNG-2 project reflects the complexities of international energy projects, particularly in the context of geopolitical tensions. The involvement of major global players from China, France, and Japan, alongside the Russian lead, underscores the project’s international significance and the impact of U.S. sanctions on its progress and collaboration among these nations.

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