12:13 GMT +3 hours30 July 2016
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Russia's Novatek Says US 'Ungrounded' Sanctions to Have No Effect on Company Activities

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The extended US sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy have no ground and will hardly affect the economic activity of Russia’s largest independent gas producer Novatek, the company said Thursday.

The extended US sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy have no ground and will hardly affect the economic activity of Russia’s largest independent gas producer Novatek, the company said Thursday.

"Putting the company on the [sanctions] list is ungrounded. This measure does not jeopardize the production and commercial activities of Novatek in any jurisdiction, and does not affect the assets or shares of the company. The Novatek shareholders include American citizens and major US investment funds and banks," the company's official statement read, issued after the United States imposed sanctions Wednesday targeting a number of Russian businesses, including Novatek.

"The implementation of large-scale projects involving Novatek will continue at a planned pace. The Company together with its international partners will take the necessary measures to secure financing and implementation of LNG projects within the intended timeframe," the statement goes on, focusing on Novatek's core projects in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.

Novatek owns 60 percent of the Yamal LNG project, a proposed liquefied natural gas plant in Sabetta, northeast of the Yamal Peninsula, involving the construction of facilities to supply 16.5 million tons of LNG per year from the South Tambeyskoye field.

The project, involving the construction of a seaport, airport and power plant, is valued at $26.9 billion. The French oil major Total and China's CNPC hold a 20 percent stake in the project each.

Novatek came under US sanctions Wednesday, along with several Russian individuals, companies and institutions in defense, energy and banking sectors, included into Washington’s Sectoral Sanctions Identification List over their involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. The gas producer will be denied access to the US financial markets while American businesses and individuals will be prohibited from giving out loans to these companies for more than 90 days.

In reponse to the restrictions, Novatek insisted that it is an independent public company, "which does not conduct business in the territory of Ukraine and has no influence over the political and economic processes taking place in its territory."

The United States and the European Union have already imposed targeted sanctions against a number of Russian officials and companies, accusing Russia of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and the list has been growing ever since Crimea reunited with Russia in March.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned the use of sanctions, warning of the boomerang effect such limitations can have. Earlier on Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow reserves the right to reciprocal measures over the sanctions, noting that it "will not tolerate blackmail."

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