Gazprom looking east for markets

Sept. 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM
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YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- European natural gas projects might pale in comparison to Gazprom's intentions in the burgeoning Asian market, the deputy chairman at Gazprom said.

European consumers get about 25 percent of their natural gas from Russia. To break that grip on the regional energy sector, European leaders are pressing for the so-called Southern Corridor of rival natural gas networks.

Gazprom is preparing to ship gas through its Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea while courting potential southern European hosts for its planned South Stream pipeline.

Europe, said Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev, will remain a top priority for his company.

"At the same time, the eastern direction is becoming extremely attractive for developing Gazprom's gas business," he said during a regional energy conference.

"The growing gas demand in Eastern Russia and Asian countries will enable the company to advance its trade to the global level and reduce dependence on certain customers."

Gazprom expects Chinese gas demand to pass Europe's by 2030. The energy company said it could capture as much as 13 percent of the Asian market by that time.

Medvedev's comments came as Gazprom discussed possible commercial ties with China National Petroleum Corp., the largest state-owned petroleum company in China.

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