Russia has this week opened its first liquefied natural gas plant (LNG) on Sakhalin Island, to supply mostly Asian markets with 1.3 million cubic feet of gas per year.

Sakhalin-2 fields have recoverable reserves approaching 17.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, while oil reserves are estimated at 1.1 billion barrels.

It’s thought that Japan will purchase around 65% of the LNG from Sakhalin, though South Korea and the US are believed to have signed contracts with Russia for gas purchases as well.

$quot;I am positive the new plant will change our gas export opportunities,$quot; said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who attended an unveiling ceremony with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso.

The Japanese premier meanwhile, has also hailed the LNG plant as a boost for his country's attempt to diversify its import strategy.