The European Commission has granted French energy giant Total permission to acquire a 20.5 per cent stake in a hydrocarbon exploration project in the Russian Arctic.
Total will share its stake in the so-called Yamal LNG project with Russia's largest independent gas producer, OAO Novatek, the commission announced on 20 March.
The project, worth USD 15-20bn, is designed to exploit and bring to the market the vast natural gas reserves in Russia's Yamal Peninsula.
Total is already participating in five production projects in Russia and owns a stake in Novatek, which holds a majority interest in the project.
The project is currently working on the Yuzhno-Tambeiskoye gas condensate field and the construction of an LNG plant. Novatek also plans to build a sea port in the Sabetta village in Yamal and an ice-breaker tanker fleet.