The recovery in global demand and prices for natural gas boosted the profits of Russia's largest independent gas producer Novatek, putting revenues from its international sales above the earnings from domestic deliveries for the first time since 2019.

Novatek said in its latest financial report that it earned almost 143 billion roubles ($1.9 billion) from the deliveries of liquefied natural gas, condensate and crude oil to international markets in the second quarter of this year, while its domestic sales ran at 118 billion roubles.

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In 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, Russia's domestic market generated the largest share of revenues for the gas producer.

Domestic demand helped the company continue investments into its ambitious and expensive LNG export projects such as Arctic LNG 2, despite the coronavirus-induced slump in demand for gas from Novatek’s core markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Novatek said that it had invested almost 103 billion roubles into Arctic LNG 2 and other upstream developments in the first half of 2020, but reduced capital expenditure in these projects to 89 billion roubles in the first half of 2021.

For the first half of this year, Novatek reported total revenues of more than 501 billion roubles against 323 billion roubles in the first half of 2020, according to its consolidated financial statement.

Novatek earned 261 billion roubles between April and June, against 141 billion roubles in the same quarter last year.

Novatek said net income for the second quarter of this year had more than doubled to 99 billion roubles.

Gas production by Novatek and its joint ventures grew by almost 7% to 40.1 billion cubic metres in the first half of this year against the same period of 2020.

Production of condensate and oil also increased by 5% to about 306,000 barrels per day in the reporting period.

Cheap asset

The company also disclosed it paid just 1.66 billion roubles to state controlled oil producer Gazprom Neft to complete a deal to buy the 49% shareholding in Gazpromneft-Sakhalin, earlier this month.

Gazpromneft-Sakhalin holds an exploration and development licence for the North Vrangelevsky block.

The block measures more than 117,000 square kilometres and lies to the northwest of the Vrangel Island in the East Siberian and Chukotka Seas.

Novatek will receive up to $20 million from France’s TotalEnergies for the Novatek’s 10% stake in its subsidiary that will build and operate two LNG transshipment terminals in the north and far east of Russia. The terminals will serving Yamal LNG, Arctic LNG 2 and other planned LNG developments.