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Gazprom looks to build up Asian market position

Russian energy company Gazprom said its gas production for the first eight months of the year is up 20 percent from 2016.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom chief Alexei Miller says a fundamental component of the company's strategy is the Asian market. File photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom chief Alexei Miller says a fundamental component of the company's strategy is the Asian market. File photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 1 (UPI) -- With gas production up more than 20 percent from last year, Russian energy company Gazprom said it was building a "formidable" position in the Asian market.

Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller said total production for the first eight months of the year was 20.1 percent higher than last year. In terms of the origin, the Yamal Peninsula in the far Arctic north of Russia is its main production center.

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"We continue to expand the northern gas transmission corridor, the chief and most efficient route of gas supplies from central Russia to northwestern Europe," he said in a statement. "At the same time, we are building a formidable production complex in the east of Russia."

Economies in the Asia-Pacific region are expanding faster than developed nations and taking on more oil and gas resources as a consequence. Island nations like Japan, meanwhile, have few resources of their own and rely on imports from major producers like Russia.

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Miller said the "cornerstone" of Gazprom's strategy was efforts in Eastern markets. In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin said from Beijing that the main priority for cooperation with China was in the energy sector. Bilateral trade with China last year increased 4 percent to $66 billion.

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Gazprom has a 30-year sales agreement with China National Petroleum Corp. that calls for 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year through the so-called Power of Siberia pipeline, which Miller said was progressing ahead of schedule.

In a preview of its World Energy Outlook, due out in November, the International Energy Agency said the natural gas market is in flux as it adjusts to the shale momentum in the United States and gains in liquefied natural gas, both of which could bring a sea change to natural gas markets.

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For China, the IEA said the second-largest economy in the world, behind the United States, was "firmly established" as a leader in renewable energy.

China holds a minority stake in an LNG facility on the Yamal Peninsula alongside French energy company Total and Novatek, the largest private natural gas company in Russia. The project has the capacity to produce about 16.5 million tons of natural gas and exports could target consumers in the Far East.

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