US not to support Novatek’s Yamal gas project

April 2, 2014

The United States Export-Import Bank halted a review of financing for a Russian natural gas export project after the Obama administration imposed sanctions on individuals including a billionaire with a stake in the facility, Bloomberg reported on April 1.

The bank, which provides credit assistance for companies to buy U.S. goods and services, is no longer considering support for Novatek’s Yamal LNG gas project in Siberia, spokesman Lawton King said in an email.

“Ex-Im Bank has not provided any support for the Yamal LNG project,” he said.“We have suspended it subject to any further developments -- even though the company ownership percentage does not rise to the levels of the sanctions criteria.”

The bank’s ties to Russia are fueling criticism from opponents who say the lender’s actions distort markets by favoring certain companies. Those connections, revealed in U.S. sanctions on Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine, may galvanize foes as the bank presses Congress for reauthorization in September.

In response to Russia’s military escalation in Ukraine, President Barack Obama this month froze the assets and restricted travel of 31 Russians and Ukrainians. Those affected include billionaire Gennady Timchenko, who owns 23.5% of Novatek, Russia’s second largest gas producer after Gazprom.

Copyright: Bloomberg, 2014