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Sakhalin Energy to build 3rd stage of LNG plant in Sakhalin

Russia's sole liquefied natural gas plant being built as part of the Far East Sakhalin II will increase annual capacity by 7 million metric tons, the regional governor said Thursday.

"The working group of Sakhalin Energy [the project operator] has started to draft a plan to build the plant's third stage," Alexander Khoroshavin said.

The Sakhalin II project, with an estimated cost of $20 billion, is designed to produce LNG at two fields in southern Sakhalin. After Russian energy giant Gazprom bought a 50% stake plus one share in the project for $7.45 billion in late 2006, Royal Dutch/Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi now own 27.5%, 12.5% and 10%, respectively.

The LNG plant currently has two units with total capacity of 9.6 million metric tons per year and is expected to be commissioned in 2008 after start-up operations are over.

The bulk of the gas under the Sakhalin II project has already been bought out for 25 years in advance by Japanese, U.S. and South Korean companies.

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