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Russia launches LNG plant to supply Asian markets

Russia will supply about 50 cargoes of liquefied natural gas this year, mostly to Japan, from a new plant on the Pacific island of Sakhalin that will establish it as a major energy supplier to Asian markets.

Sakhalin Energy, controlled by Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, on Wednesday launched the $22 billion project that has become a landmark case in the Kremlin's reasserting control over the country's natural resources. President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would be able to supply 5% of world demand for the super-cooled gas when the Sakhalin-2 project was running at full capacity next year. “This strengthens Russia's position as a major energy market participant,” he said at an opening ceremony held in temperatures 20 degrees below Celsius. The Sakhalin-2 project, in which Royal Dutch Shell owns a minority stake having ceded control to Gazprom, is the first LNG plant in Russia and opens up new frontiers in Asia and North America for the world's largest gas producer.