Russia’s LNG ambitions put at risk as Linde exits

International chemicals giant Linde has joined a host of Western oil producers, oilfield service providers and technology players in exiting Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, putting in doubt Moscow’sambitions of becoming a major global exporter of liquified natural gas by 2030.

As a member of a consortium with Technip Energies and Russia’s Nipigazpererabotka, Linde is a key partner underpinning a multi-billion dollar engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Arctic LNG 2 export project led by Novatek, Russia’s largest independent gas producer.

In a statement placed on a corporate website, Linde said it is “working with the relevant governments and authorities to ensure the company fully complies with international sanctions and is safely winding down affected projects in Russia”.

In addition, Linde has “suspended all business development for new projects in Russia”.

Read more: TotalEnergies responds to criticism by winding down Russian activities and pulling LNG funding
Under the Arctic LNG 2 contract, Linde is supplying its proprietary natural gas liquefaction process for all three liquefaction trains under construction in the Novatek-managed specialised yard in Belokamenka, near the port of Murmansk.

The project includes the construction of three LNG trains, each with capacity of 6.6 million tonnes per annum.

The shareholders in Arctic LNG 2 are Novatek with 60%, TotalEnergies holding 10%, China’s CNPC and CNOOC with 10% each, as well as Japan Arctic LNG — a consortium involving Mitsui & Co Ltd — also holding 10%.

Novatek squeeze

Construction work is continuing at Belokamenka , according to the social media accounts of numerous site workers.

Pre-fabricated LNG train modules are shown in place having been transported from China recently. The modules are being rolled out to the concrete gravity-based foundation (GBS) of the first liquefaction train, according to Russian social network posts.

Novatek has said previously that all 14 heavy modules have been delivered to the yard and are set to be installed on the GBS during March.

According to the company, shareholders have provided an estimated 57% of the required $21.3 billion financing for the project by end of 2021, with the remaining bills to be paid from project financing loans arranged last year.

Novatek has not been specifically targeted by the current round of international sanctions but the impact of the measures have been felt at top management level.

Novatek core minority shareholder, Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, on Monday resigned from the company’s board of directors after being targeted by new sanctions.

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