MOSCOW, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Russian energy giant Gazprom announced it opened a regional office in Brazil, describing Latin America as a strategically important region for natural gas.
Gazprom is active in Latin America through partnerships with energy companies in Venezuela and Bolivia. The company announced that it was solidifying its position in the region by opening an office in Rio de Janeiro.
"Latin America is a strategically important region for Gazprom in terms of developing the gas business," Pavel Oderov, Gazprom director of international development, was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "The discovery of hydrocarbon deposits and growth in natural gas consumption rates in various economic sectors will enable us to develop partnership relations in this region."
Gazprom follows Russian energy company TNK-BP, which said recently it was considering energy opportunities along the Amazon River basin.
Gazprom had announced plans to set up an office in Brazil last year. The Kremlin said in 2008 that Brazil played a key role in efforts by Gazprom to expand its presence in Latin America.
Bilateral trade between Russia and Brazil totaled $4.6 billion in 2009.