Gazprom to plan gas transport, storage in Europe

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Dec. 16 -- Gazprom Vice-Pres. Alexander Medvedev indicated in Paris Dec. 12 that the company is interested in acquiring gas transport and distribution assets in France and other areas of Europe to bolster the company's gas storage capacities. He said Gazprom Marketing & Trading France already has joint gas storage projects.

"We want to ensure distribution in all the countries where we deliver our gas under long-term contracts," he said.

Gazprom signed an agreement in December 2006 extending Gaz de France's long-term contracts to 2030 and, at the same time, the partners agreed that Gazprom could sell as much as 1.5 billion cu m/year in France as direct sales.

Medvedev said he is aiming for these volumes within 2-3 years, up from the current 500 million c m, which accounts for 1% of the French market for large industries. Gazprom is now aiming for medium-size clients.

Youri Virobian, who heads the new French affiliate, said broadening Gazprom's market share would depend on "the future of regulated prices," which have kept the industrial gas market restricted to 19% for new entrants since the industrial market opened to industry in 2004. Householders, who could access the market since July 2007, only account for 1.9%, he noted.

Medvedev indicated that, due to the financial and economic crises, Russian investments will be prioritized, but he did say the Nordstream and Southstream gas pipelines and the Shtokman gas field projects would proceed.

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