US aiming to ‘kill’ major Russian energy project – official

Washington must also deter Asia from dependence on Moscow, Geoffrey Pyatt has claimed

The White House is aiming to “kill” Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 energy project, according to US assistant secretary of state for energy resources, Geoffrey Pyatt.

The project in the northern Gydan Peninsula is operated by independent Russian LNG producer Novatek. It will feature three LNG trains, with a total annual production capacity of 19.8 million tons. The first train was launched in July, while the remaining two are scheduled for 2024 and 2025.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on US national security interests in Ukraine on Wednesday, Pyatt stated: “Last week, for instance, we levelled new sanctions against the Arctic LNG 2, which is Novatek’s flagship project” 

“Our objective is to kill that project,” he stressed, claiming that the project had been set up with the aim of turning Russia into the world’s largest LNG exporter.

According to Pyatt, Russia’s plans are being stifled by sanctions imposed through cooperation between the US and its allies in the G7 and beyond.

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The US official also said the White House is “working with the countries [that] historically have depended on Russian energy, and [are] paying in to the Kremlin’s resources.” Pyatt claimed that this has been done “quite successfully” in the EU. 

“We need to keep focusing on the Asian front,” he added, stressing that the current price cap coalition would help to achieve that objective.

According to Pyatt, the $60 per-barrel price ceiling on Russian seaborne oil exports imposed by EU and G7 countries in December has managed to cut Moscow’s energy revenues, while keeping Russian crude on global markets and avoiding further destabilization.

Earlier this week, Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said that sanctions on the Arctic LNG 2 project could have a major negative impact on business in Japan, adding that Tokyo would work with the G7 to maintain stable energy supplies.

Japan had previously exempted Russian LNG projects in Sakhalin and the Arctic from sanctions and continued to provide architectural and engineering services to the country.

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