TOKYO/PEKIN (Reuters) – Japanese company Mitsui has decided to withdraw its employees from the Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) project Artic LNG 2, the Japanese daily Sankei reported on Tuesday, citing various sources.

The other Japanese company involved in the project, JOGMEC, is expected to retain its shares, according to Sankei.

Several foreign shareholders suspended their participation after the United States imposed sanctions last month on this project, a key element of Russia’s strategy on the global LNG market where it wants to increase its market share from 8% to 20% by 2030.

The sanctions led Novatek, Russia’s largest LNG producer spearheading the project, to send force majeure notifications to some of its customers over future LNG supplies from Arctic LNG 2, industry sources told Reuters last week.

France’s TotalEnergies, Chinese state majors CNOOC and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) have declared force majeure over their participation in the project, Kommersant reported on Monday, citing sources within the Russian government.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that China’s participation in the Russian project should not be subject to any third-party intervention or restrictions.

(Yuka Obayashi and Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo, Liz Lee and Andrew Hayley in Beijing; by Zhifan Liu, edited by Tangi Salaün)

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