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Timchenko scared to talk up gas delivery to US

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Bloomberg are reporting that, even as new threats of sanctions from the US chill relations, Vladimir Putin teased a longtime ally who was among the first to be hit with the limits for being shy about talking up the latest shipments of Russian natural gas to its Cold War rival.

Timchenko, a billionaire whose ties with Putin go back to the 1990s earned him a spot as one of the first Russian businessmen hit with US sanctions in 2014 over the Ukraine crisis, said he was reluctant to tout the delivery.

“This fact is known to the market, but we’re not screaming about it because we’re a bit afraid,” he told Putin at a meeting with visiting French business leaders late on 31 January at the presidential residence outside Moscow. “We’re businessmen.”

He was referring to the tanker Gaselys, which docked just north of Boston on 28 January, bringing the Siberian gas as prices in the US Northeast have spiked due to unusually cold weather. Putin personally presided over the opening of the Yamal LNG project in December, touting it as “our common victory.”

The “Russian molecules,” as local gas officials call them, took a roundabout route to Boston. Yamal LNG’s first cargo was sold to Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd, which took it to a terminal near London where the Gaselys, owned by France’s Engie SA, later picked up fuel for its trip to the US.

Engie plans to deliver a second cargo – potentially including some gas from Yamal LNG – to the US later this month.

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