MILAN, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Russian natural gas exporter Gazprom has agreed to buy all of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) from an export plant in Cameroon due to start operating in 2017, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Gazprom is aiming to boost its portfolio in LNG as supply grows and the fuel takes an increasing role in global gas trade.
Gazprom Marketing & Trading (GM&T) will take 1.2 million tonnes of LNG annually from the Perenco project in Cameroon which is being developed by Norwegian shipping company Golar LNG.
Golar is converting one of its LNG tankers into a floating production platform which will chill gas into liquid form for export by ship to world markets.
GM&T, which declined to comment, is expected to sell the LNG into Atlantic markets, including Latin America, but also to China, the sources said.
The long-term LNG sales price is 11.25 percent of Brent crude oil, on a free-on-board basis, with Gazprom allowed to ship the fuel anywhere in the world, one of the sources said.
With Brent crude currently trading at $45 a barrel, the price works out to around $5.06 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), Reuters calculations show.
“It all depends on the oil price in 2017 when the supply starts flowing,” another source said.
“Despite a low price on the volumes from Perenco to Gazprom, we see the project as still delivering solid returns to Perenco - primarily due to the low cost of gas,” said Erik Stavseth, analyst at Arctic Securities.
Weak demand and rising supply have battered LNG prices since they peaked in February, 2014, pushing sellers to strike favourable deals to retain and gain new customers.
Despite being the world’s biggest gas producer, Gazprom currently operates just one LNG production plant, at Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East.
GM&T also sought to buy all the LNG from a small production plant in Colombia, but the project has been delayed.
Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; editing by Jason Neely