Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday. Photo: TASS/AFP
politics

Putin woos Asian investors in Russia's Far East

13 Comments
By Maria PANINA

Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to lure Asian investment to Russia's Far East on Thursday as the launch was announced of a huge Arctic gas project aimed at Asian markets.

Hosting leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, Putin lauded Russia's Far East as a destination for investment.

The region is full of "hardworking, energetic people", "industries of the future" and "the richest reserves of natural resources", Putin said.

"Take advantage of these opportunities," he told a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.

Moscow has hosted the forum every year since 2015 as it looks to bolster ties with Asia amid tensions with the West.

Russian gas firm Novatek at the forum announced the launch of a major liquefied natural gas project in the Arctic with Chinese, French and Japanese partners.

Novatek said a final decision had been made on financing the $21 billion Arctic LNG 2 project with partners including France's Total, CNPC and CNOOC of China, and a Japanese consortium of Mitsui & Co and JOGMEC.

The project will see the development of a gas field and the building of a liquefaction plant on the Gydan Peninsula in Russia's Arctic, with exports starting in 2023.

It is the second launch of a major project for Novatek in the Arctic in the last three years as Russia -- already the world's biggest gas exporter -- looks to develop LNG shipments to energy-hungry Asian markets.

In his speech at the plenary, Abe hailed Japan's growing business ties with Russia and Moscow's development of the Arctic through new technology and ice-breaking ships.

The Arctic LNG 2 project, he said, would be the realisation of a "grand connection" between the Pacific and Arctic oceans.

"For the first time in human history these two oceans will become one, and a magnificent physical distribution highway will come into being," he said.

He urged Putin to finally sign a peace treaty with Japan, overcoming the two countries' differences over a chain of Far Eastern islands.

Putin and Abe have met 27 times in bids to resolve the dispute, which centers on islands -- known in Russia as the Kurils and the Northern Territories in Japan -- seized by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II.

Modi told the forum that India was looking to "walk hand-in-hand with Russia on this visionary journey" to develop Far Eastern economic ties.

He said India would provide a $1 billion line of credit to promote investment in Russia's Far East.

Modi and Putin spent much of their time together on the forum's opening day on Wednesday, touring a naval shipyard and calling each other "close" and "great" friends.

No major new deals were announced in their talks, but a joint statement called for further cooperation including creating joint ventures in India to develop and manufacture civilian aircraft.

India is a major client for Russia's arms industry and the two countries have signed an agreement to jointly produce Kamov Ka-226 military helicopters.

Russia's pivot to Asia comes after its economy was hit by sanctions imposed by the European Union and United States over its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Putin hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at the country's other main business showcase, the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, in June.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


13 Comments
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"Russian gas firm Novatek at the forum announced the launch of a major liquefied natural gas project in the Arctic with Chinese, French and Japanese partners."

The momentum of Japan-China cooperation is unstoppable, as simple as that.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

It looks like, and reads like . . . Russia, Japan . . . getting closer to official peace.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

China's Belt and Road and Russia's Eurasian Economic Union are continuing to finlandize large portions of the globe.

While the US is 'led' by Trump, who's kept distracted playing golf (300 days?) at one of his properties, paid for by US taxpayers. Trump's never cared about the US, only what he's been able to take from it. And he's not ashamed of letting 'foreign' leaders help him further line his pockets at the expense of the country.

Japan's been led by fossils unable to keep pace with changes. But then fossils don't change much, do they.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good progress between Putin and PM Abe. Give the islands back and there will be an unprecedented economic boom in Russia. Japan is hungry for more and more gas, BUT needs that Peace Treaty signed and the Japanese islands returned.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Does this mean my winter heating bill will get cheaper?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Does this mean my winter heating bill will get cheaper?

Took a look at my magic 8 ball and it said "Doubtful", so I'd forget about it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Give the islands back and there will be an unprecedented economic boom in Russia

It is close to 30 years now since the bubble and the economy has never picked up since then despite myriad of measures taken and nothing to show for but debt that is out of control.

Despite this, you think Japan will create a boom in Russia.

Delusion Grandeur.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

what's there to invest on, moose and polar bears?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The momentum of Japan-China cooperation is unstoppable, as simple as that.

The "unstoppable momentum" will come to a screeching halt whenever China is "displeased" with something Japan does or says that goes against Chinese wishes in the future.

Putin has Abe in the palm of his hand and will milk Japan's desire for the return of the Northern territories in part or in full, for all it is worth. Suck out investment cash from Japan and keep hinting that eventually Japan "might" get something back in return. But Russia will never give anything back except hollow maybes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good progress between Putin and PM Abe.

What progress?....27th meeting and its the same old boring tune...over and over.

Give the islands back and there will be an unprecedented economic boom in Russia.

Putin is not giving anything back , its obvious to anyone with a brain cell by now....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, with Abe and others here in Japan supporting this LNG project, the great master in Washington will not be too happy! I mean, he's already condemning the Russia-Europe pipeline! There goes the great friendship! But maybe golf will unite them again!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer and LNG operator, Novatek, signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s Saibu Gas on LNG cooperation. "

Kyushu area of Saibu Gas is a great start to find much cheaper that Shale gas from US only for ship-transportation costs 1/4 higher than American living cost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Beware of wolf in sheep clothing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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