Gazprom Aims to be Top Gas Marketer

Thursday, February 23, 2006
Russian natural gas company OAO Gazprom has set its sights on becoming one of the top 15 natural gas marketers in the U.S., www.marketwatch.com reported. The company expects to handle volumes of around 1 billion to 3 billion cubic feet a day or more once Russian exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, start flowing around the end of the decade. The company will consider investing in regasification facilities, but so far has no concrete plans to do so. Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, supplies about a quarter of Europe's natural gas and has begun to set its sights further afield. In the U.S., that will mean pursuing a fully integrated strategy. Russia isn't exporting any LNG yet. Gazprom has three major LNG projects under way, including the massive offshore Shtokman field in the Barents Sea and a planned Baltic LNG liquefaction plant near St. Petersburg. It also has an agreement with Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC (RDSB) to acquire a 25% stake plus one share in the Sakhalin II project on Russia's Pacific coast. Sakhalin II is likely to be the first to begin exporting Russian LNG, and is scheduled to come online in the summer of 2008. Gazprom eventually plans to set up a gas marketing and trading office in Houston, Texas, but so far the company has no timeline for doing so. Gazprom plans to sell its own gas to U.S. markets but may also market significant amounts of third-party gas as well. The volumes of Russian gas to be sold in the U.S. will also depend on how much LNG Gazprom will sell in other markets such as Europe. (Source: www.marketwatch.com)

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