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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sakhalin II project LNG tankers named

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, October 4 (RIA Novosti) - Two tankers built by Japan to transport liquefied natural gas to the Asia Pacific as part of Russia's Far East Sakhalin II project have been named, a Sakhalin Energy spokeswoman said Thursday. The Grand Elena and Grand Aniva were named in a ceremony at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd in Nagasaki in southern Japan, and are being chartered on a long-term basis by Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. for delivering gas from Russia's first ever LNG plant, currently under construction at Prigorodnoye, in the south of Sakhalin Island. The two 147,000 cubic meter LNG carriers were built for a Japanese-Russian joint venture between Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) and Sovcomflot, a Russian state-owned shipping company. Chris Finlayson, Chairman of Board of Directors of Sakhalin Energy, has been quoted as saying: "This is another tremendous milestone for the Sakhalin II project, bringing us closer to the first shipments of Russian LNG to customers in the Asia Pacific. It is also another great example of the involvement of Russian companies in the Sakhalin II project." Ian Craig, Chief Executive Officer of Sakhalin Energy said: "With this achievement, Russia is now well and truly involved in LNG shipping. It takes the marketing and export of Sakhalin II LNG to new heights of achievement - not only have we achieved some major milestones with the construction of the project this year, but we also now have new shipping capacity to transport Russian LNG to customers." The Grand Elena and Grand Aniva are ice strengthened tankers designed for low-temperature operation ensuring all-season shipments. The LNG plant with a capacity of 9.6 million metric tons a year, due to be launched in 2008, has already sold the bulk of its gas 25 years in advance to Japan, the U.S., and South Korea. Sakhalin II has estimated reserves of 150 million metric tons (1.1 billion barrels) of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The Sakhalin Energy controlling stake of 50% belongs to Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom [RTS: GAZP], with the minority partners in the project, Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, currently holding 27.5%, 12.5% and 10% stakes in the company respectively.

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