MOSCOW, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Yamal LNG, owned by Russia's second-largest gas producer Novatek and France's Total , has established a trading unit in Singapore, the company said on Thursday.
Novatek, currently confined to the domestic market by rival Gazprom's export monopoly, has been lobbying for liquefied natural gas export rights, a potential blow to Gazprom. It already has a trading arm in Europe which deals in non-Russian gas.
Novatek and Total aim produce 5 million tonnes per year of liquefied natural gas in the resource-rich Arctic peninsula of Yamal starting from 2016-2017, with a view to increasing the output to 15 million tonnes by 2018.
But a final investment decision is now overdue and analysts say banks are unlikely to take the project's gas export revenues as security if marketing is carried out through a third party. Under current plans, Gazprom would act as Yamal LNG's agent.
The government is currently studying ways to increase export rights for producers of LNG without creating competition for Gazprom
Novatek has also been in talks to expand its gas trading operations in Germany and other European countries after it signed a deal in July to trade natural gas with German utility EnBW.
The operations do not infringe Gazprom's monopoly rights as Novatek is not exporting gas from Russia for this trade. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)