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26 Dec, 2023 16:46

China slams US sanctions on Russian gas project

Restrictions endanger vital fuel supplies, according to Beijing
China slams US sanctions on Russian gas project

China’s involvement in Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 liquefied natural gas project should not be the target of any third-party intervention or restrictions, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry has said, according to Reuters. 

The statement follows media reports that foreign shareholders in the new Russian energy project have halted their participation amid US sanctions.

Economic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing is mutually beneficial and “should not be interfered with or restricted by any third party,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying at a regular press conference on Tuesday.

“China has always opposed unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction without the basis of international law,” she added.

The Arctic LNG 2 project in Russia’s Gyda Peninsula is operated by the country’s largest independent LNG producer, Novatek, and is due to begin commercial shipments in early 2024. The first train was launched in July, with the plant starting production of gas last week. After the addition of two more trains in 2024 and 2025, Arctic LNG 2 is expected to reach a full capacity of 19.8 million tons by 2026.

On Monday, the Kommersant business daily cited sources within the Russian government as saying that foreign shareholders in the project – France’s TotalEnergies, the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China’s CNOOC, and a consortium of Mitsui and JOGMEC from Japan – have declared force majeure on their participation. This effectively means the four shareholders, who each own a 10% stake, have renounced their responsibilities for financing the plant and fulfilling offtake contracts for the supply of LNG it produces, the newspaper wrote.

Reuters previously reported that CNOOC and CNPC have both asked the US government for exemptions from sanctions on Arctic LNG 2 as they seek to prevent disruption to crucial fuel flows.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Arctic LNG 2 in early November, banning third countries in Asia and Europe from purchasing LNG produced by the plant when it starts operating. OFAC has set January 31, 2024 as the deadline for closing transactions with the project.

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