Russian gas producer Novatek has started construction on the $30bn Sabetta port project, which is expected to become a gateway to export liquefied natural gas for the company.

The Sabetta port is strategically located on the west bank of the Ob Bay, on the north-east of the Yamal Peninsula in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YNAO). Its construction will allow Novatek to boost its exports to China and other Asian countries to compete with Russia’s number one gas producer Gazprom.

The project includes the design and construction of an onshore, integrated LNG facility which will act as a primary transport infrastructure for Novatek’s Yamal LNG project after completion.

Construction of the Sabetta port will allow the company to develop hydrocarbon fields in the Yamal Peninsula and the Gulf of Ob and to create a navigation facility along the Northern Sea Route throughout the year, helping development of Russia’s icebreaker fleet.

Sabetta port is part of the Russian Goverment’s Yamal LNG Project and will be based on Novatek’s resources of the South-Tambeyskoye field.

The work will be carried out in two phases with the first phase involving the construction of piers to receive large LNG plant process modules and construction materials.

The first LNG plant module is expected to arrive in July 2014. In the second phase loading for LNG and gas condensate will be built. The project is scheduled to be operational in 2018.

Novatek owns 80% stake in the Yamal LNG project while Gennady Timchenko with France’s Total own the remaining 20% stake.