Gazprom in talks over LNG in Asia

Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled gas monopoly, said it was in discussions with large oil and gas companies to expand its presence in the liquefied natural gas market in south-east Asia and Australia.

“We are in discussions with some companies in the region to join forces, with partners that understand each other,” said Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom deputy chairman.

Those companies include Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil company, which is one of the world’s leading LNG exporters.

The talks are in response to the increasing globalisation of the LNG market. ”Prices are much higher for LNG, there are more customers and the ships are much bigger,” an industry executive said at the weekend.

Mr Medvedev, speaking in Sydney as part of a Russian business delegation at a meeting of leaders from Pacific Rim nations, declined to comment on whether he held talks with Woodside Petroleum, the Australian group that last week secured one of the world’s biggest LNG contracts with China worth up to A$45bn.

However, Woodside has said that it is keen to enter the Atlantic LNG market and has highlighted opportunities for the exchange of cargoes and asset swaps.

Mr Medvedev said Gazprom had taken a strategic decision to be a major LNG player. ”Apart from Sakhalin 2 [the giant Russian gas project just over 50 per cent-owned by Gazprom] we have two projects on the agenda,” he said.

These are Shtokman, a vast gas field it is developing with minority partner Total of France, as well as its Baltic LNG interests. However, these projects are most likely to supply Europe and North America.

“By 2030 we are targeting to produce between 30m to 50m tonnes of LNG each year,” he said. ”The Pacific region is one of the most dynamic regions. There is strong demand here and we would like to become part of this market.”

He added that Gazprom already had a presence in the market. It is involved in a medium-sized gas field near Vietnam, where preliminary figures have shown the potential for up to 300bn of cubic metres of gas, as well as drilling activities offshore from India.

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