Total buys additional stake in Russian gas producer Novatek for $800 mn

French energy giant Total yesterday said that it is buying an additional 2-per cent stake in Russia's top non-state gas producer OAO Novatek, for $800 million.

With the purchase, Total, which has been present in Russia since 1991, has raised its stake in Novatek to 14.09 per cent.

Total first acquired a minority stake in Novatek in March by paying $4 billion, valuing it at around $40 billion.

After acquiring the stake, Total had said that it would raise its holding in Novatek to 15 per cent within 12 months and to 19.4 per cent within three years.

Novatek is Russia's largest independent natural gas producer, and second-largest in overall production after Gazprom, which holds a 10-per cent stake in Novatek.

Total is also Novatek's main international partner in the project Novatek Yamal LNG with a 20 per cent stake.

Novatek, which provides about 13 per cent of gas to the Russian domestic market, produced 38.6 billion cubic metres of gas in the first nine months of 2011, up by over 45 per cent over the same period last year.

Total  and Novatek have been partners in developing the Termokarstovoye gas field, and is the operator of Kharyaga field, with a 40 per cent interest.