Gazprom Seeks LNG Deals Abroad That May Involve Asset Swaps

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, is seeking liquefied natural-gas deals outside of Russia that may involve asset swaps.

“We are looking at new projects,” Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said today in an interview at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “In possible asset swap deals we will be interested to include existing LNG assets that our potential partners have.”

Medvedev declined to identify possible partners, though he said that talks with Royal Dutch Shell Plc include an “LNG element.”

Gazprom, which leads Russia’s sole LNG project known as Sakhalin-2, with Shell, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp., wants to expand in markets such as Asia where demand is growing at a faster rate. The Moscow-based producer is targeting production of as much as 25 billion cubic meters of LNG outside Russia, according to a presentation to investors on Gazprom’s website.

Shell may offer assets in Asia to Gazprom to support expansion of the Sakhalin-2, people with knowledge of the negotiations said in February. The Hague-based company may gain access to offshore blocks in Russia’s east, they said at the time.

Gazprom is considering expanding the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant and is looking at ways to increase the resource base needed to support a third production line, or train, Medvedev said today. At the same time, the company is also studying plans to build an LNG plant near the city of Vladivostok, he said.

Most of the gas from Sakhalin-2 goes to Japan, the world’s biggest LNG consumer, where a March earthquake and tsunami have knocked nuclear power offline.

“Japan is now analyzing what the consequences of this catastrophe are, also in view of demand recovery from industries,” Medvedev said.

Japan may need as much as 20 million tons of additional LNG, Medvedev said. “And this is a very serious volume that doesn’t yet exist on the market, you have yet to produce it.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in St. Petersbrug via Moscow at 7729 or ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net Caroline Connan in St. Petersburg via London at cconnan@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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