Russia's Novatek aims to launch Yamal LNG on Dec 8 -sources

MOSCOW, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Russia's Novatek has provisionally set Dec. 8 as the official launch date for its Yamal LNG plant, two sources with direct knowledge of the event planning told Reuters.

Novatek's partners on the project are France's Total , the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China's Silk Road Fund. The project, on the Yamal Peninsula above the Arctic Circle, will be Russia's second LNG plant after Sakhalin-2 on the Pacific island of Sakhalin.

At full capacity, the Yamal facility will be able to produce 16.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year, which it will ship to Europe and Asia. It is being built in three phases.

One of the sources received an invitation for a Dec. 8 opening of phase 1 and an industry source confirmed the date but both said the date may change, depending on the schedule of high-ranking officials expected at the event.

A Novatek spokesman said he could not confirm Dec. 8 as the launch date. The company has said that it aimed to open the plant before the end of this year. (Reporting by Denis Pinchuk, Katya Golubkova and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by Susan Fenton)