MOSCOW, May 20 (UPI) -- Delivering more natural gas to expanding Asian economies is a central part of a portfolio diversification scheme, Russian energy company Gazprom said.
The board of directors at Gazprom met in Moscow to review long-term objectives in the natural gas market. While Europe is one of its main customers, the company said it aims to increase its gas export options for Asia.
"The key task in achieving export diversification is to strengthen the Company's position in the most promising and fast-growing gas market of Asia-Pacific, primarily by delivering gas to China," the company said in a statement.
Gazprom has a 30-year sales agreement with China National Petroleum Corp. to deliver natural gas through a pipeline dubbed the Power of Siberia. Vitaly Markelov, a member for Gazprom's board, said the company was scaling back its short-term vision for the project after building about 70 miles of the pipeline in order to control spending.
The Russian company added that liquefied natural gas, which is exposed to less geopolitical risk than cross-border pipelines, can offer more market options. The company said that over the past few years, it's more than doubled its LNG portfolio. An agreement on strategic cooperation reached last year with Royal Dutch Shell extended to the LNG sector via possible extensions to an existing LNG plant in Sakhalin in the Far East.
In April, however, Gazprom accused its counterparts at the China National Petroleum Corp. of using liberalization as a bargaining chip on the price it would pay for Russian LNG. Nevertheless, Gazprom said expanding Sakhalin, Russia's only LNG plant, was a "high priority" for the company.
Apart from pipeline developments for Europe, which is wary of Russia's grip on the energy sector, Gazprom said small-scale LNG could be included as an option for some Baltic states.
"By exercising more flexibility in its export policy, diversifying export routes and sales markets, and pursuing promising business opportunities in the gas industry, Gazprom enhances its competitiveness in the long term," the company said.