Russian officials have said that the country is considering offering tax incentives to attract investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

The Russian state-backed gas giant Gazprom has already floated the idea of scrapping LNG export duties, currently running at E40 per 1,000 cubic meters.

The ministry of trade and economic development has now discussed a similar idea, and a spokeswoman for the department said that the government was likely to ratify the move in late November or early December.

LNG operations remain in their infancy in Russia: Gazprom plans to develop the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, and hopes to build a liquefaction plant to enable LNG exports from the area to North America to begin in 2010.

The economy and trade minister German Gref was cited by the RIA Novosty news agency as saying: This measure is a powerful stimulant to attract various investments, foreign investments in the production of liquefied natural gas.

We have to find out whether this measure is really necessary in order to make future projects profitable and attractive to investors, he said. We will decide during the next meeting of the committee [at the end of November or the beginning of December].