A major $21.3bn LNG project in the Russian Artic region has today been given the go-ahead.

Artic LNG 2, led by Russian independent gas producer Novatek, is expected to export its first LNG cargo by 2023 and will have production capacity of nearly 20 million tonnes per year.

LNG trains 2 and 3 are expected to be launched in 2024 and 2026, respectively.

Novatek said the final investment decision was approved today during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.

A consortium of TechnipFMC, Saipem and NIPIGAS (Russia) was awarded the contract on engineering, procurement and construction of the LNG plant (EPC contract), with the design and construction of gravity-based structures to be built by the Russian company SAREN, a joint venture of RHI Russia and Saipem.

Novatek said as of today, more than 90% of long-lead items (including cryogenic heat exchangers, gas turbines, and the compressors for the liquefaction trains) have been ordered.

Drilling of production wells, construction of roads and the field’s production infrastructure have been commenced.

“Today, we have taken another step forward in our goal to become one of the largest LNG producers in the world by approving the final investment decision on our second large-scale LNG project – Arctic LNG 2,” said Novatek’s Chairman of the Management Board Leonid Mikhelson.

“We are confident that the accumulated construction experience, state-of-the-art technologies, proven logistics solutions and partnerships with best-in-class international companies will ensure the effective implementation of our new LNG project.”

“Our long-term strategy is to develop our vast low-cost hydrocarbon resources on the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas, as well as to maximise our cost competitiveness across LNG markets.”