Liquefied natural gas supplies to Japan under the Sakhalin-II oil and gas project will start in February next year
"An official ceremony of filling the first tanker with liquefied natural gas is scheduled for February 19," said Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Gazprom management committee and head of Gazprom Export.
The second stage of the liquefied natural gas plant in Sakhalin is planned to be launched in 2010.
The $20 billion Sakhalin II project includes the Piltun-Astokhskoye and Lunskoye oil and gas fields on Sakhalin Island's northeastern shelf, with recoverable reserves estimated at 150 million tons (1.1 billion bbl) of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
The minority partners in the project, Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, currently hold 27.5%, 12.5% and 10% stakes in the project respectively. Gazprom acquired a controlling stake (50% plus one share) in the project in December 2006.