Rosneft and ExxonMobil to Build LNG Plant in Alaska

Rosneft announced plans for a joint project with ExxonMobil to build a liquefied natural gas production plant in Alaska with an aim to export gas to the growing market in the Asia-Pacific region.

In February, Rosneft received an option on a 25 percent interest in the Point Thomson Unit, which covers development of a remote natural gas and condensate field on Alaska's North Slope under an agreement signed with ExxonMobil.

On Wednesday, Rosneft chief Igor Sechin said the company planned to build an LNG production facility in Alaska, Kommersant reported. He also said the Asia-Pacific region was a target market for this project and added that Rosneft and ExxonMobil were discussing plans to build another LNG production facility in Sakhalin.

According to Sechin, the demand for LNG in Asia will grow 90 percent by 2018. "Participation in the Point Thomson project will allow us to react to that demand and to enter the Asian market not only with the resources of Exxon in Alaska but also with those we have in Sakhalin," he said.

Industry experts were skeptical of Rosneft's role in the Alaska project since it goes against the logic of the liberalized LNG export policy of the Russian government. It will create competition not only for projects like Novatek and Total's Yamal LNG or Gazprom's Vladivostok LNG, but also is against the interests of Rosneft's own project in Sakhalin, said Maria Belova, a senior analyst at the Skolkovo Energy Center.