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MOSCOW, May 28 (Reuters) - Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft said on Thursday it is considering moving the construction of its liquefied natural gas plant away from the Pacific Ocean island of Sakhalin due to Gazprom’s venture not giving it access to a gas pipeline.
Rosneft signed an agreement with ExxonMobil in 2013 that aimed at starting production of 5 million tonnes per year of LNG from 2018 at Sakhalin.
Rosneft has long been seeking access to the Sakhalin pipeline, controlled by Sakhalin Energy, a venture between Gazprom, Shell. Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi are also shareholders in the project.
Gazprom had voiced strong opposition to plans by Rosneft and Exxon to build the $15 billion LNG plant to ship gas produced at their offshore Sakhalin-1 project, strategically sited near Japan, the world’s LNG top consumer.
Gazprom has its own LNG plant in the region - the 10 million tonnes per year Sakhalin-2 project built by Shell - in which it acquired a controlling stake several years ago.
Joint plans by Rosneft and ExxonMobil to build the LNG plant in Sakhalin has been hindered by infrastructure bottlenecks and uncertainty over gas reserves.
Sources have said Rosneft may have to delay development of the plant for at least two years.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by David Evans