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Gazprom Seeks to Join U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Project

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas export monopoly, is seeking opportunities to join a U.S. project to liquefy the fuel for shipment by tanker.

Gazprom Global LNG is participating in tenders for fuel shipments as U.S. shale gas output drives down prices, allowing import terminals to be revamped for loading and production, according to Frederic Barnaud, the executive director of the Moscow-based company’s unit.

Gas from shale, fine-grained sedimentary rocks that trap the fuel, made up 23 percent of U.S. production in 2010, and is forecast to rise to 49 percent by 2035, according to the Energy Department. The U.S. plans to be a net exporter of LNG from 2016, with initial sales of 1.1 billion cubic feet a day doubling after three years.

The Gazprom trading unit has a 20-year deal to handle one million metric tons annually with Russia’s only LNG project known as Sakhalin Energy, Barnaud said in Gazprom’s corporate magazine. Gazprom wants to handle deliveries of as much as 90 million tons of LNG globally by 2030, he said.

Gazprom, which depends on piping gas to Europe for most of its sales, said last month it plans to grow in Asia and boost its share of the LNG trade by buying cargoes, building plants and seeking projects abroad. Liquefied natural-gas is gas turned into a liquid and shipped by tanker.

Gazprom opened its U.S. trading unit in Houston in 2009 to gain a foothold in the local market.

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