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Italy's SACE to provide insurance coverage for Arctic LNG 2 project financing – ambassador

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ROME (Reuters) - Italy's export credit agency SACE confirmed insurance coverage for funding of Novatek's Arctic LNG 2 project by a unit of Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo and state lender CDP, the Italian Ambassador to Russia Giorgio Starace said on Thursday.

In comments made to Russia's Interfax agency and confirmed by his office, Starace said Italy would continue to be one of the leading partners participating in the project, both on the business level and on the level of credit and insurance.

In September, Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson voiced concern that European governments were not keen on helping the company in the face of environmental opposition.

Starace met SACE managers last week who said the agency was ready to provide insurance coverage, an Italian source familiar with the matter said.

Due diligence is under way and the deal should go through providing an agreement signed by Italy at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow did not forbid it, the source added.

In October Antonio Fallico, the head of Banca Intesa Russia, a unit of Intesa Sanpaolo, said the bank was studying the deal but added no decision had as yet been taken.

Last month top management at Russia's largest LNG producer visited Rome to canvass support.

Intesa Sanpaolo declined to comment while Novatek had no immediate comment. CDP was not immediately available for a comment.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Stephen Jewkes, additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; editing by Agnieszka Flak)

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