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Gazprom secures right to sell natural gas to Austrian customers

Energy Trade

OAO Gazprom, the world's largest natural-gas producer and exporter, will sell natural gas directly to Austrian consumers for the first time as the Russian company expands internationally and Europe liberalizes gas markets. Gazprom and OMV AG, the largest energy company in central Europe, signed new supply contracts, giving trading ventures controlled by Gazprom the right to sell to consumers in Austria, the Moscow-based company said today in an e-mail. Gazprom wants to start retail gas sales in newly liberalized markets in Europe, such as Italy and Hungary. The Russian company supplies a quarter of Europe's gas. Russia will deliver 7 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Austria, extending to 2027 a contract that was set to expire in 2012. EconGas will take 75% of the fuel, the Vienna-based company said. The companies didn't give the value of the contract. Gazprom is now looking for customers, said a spokesman, who asked not to be identified, citing company rules. The units are Centrex Europe Energy & Gas AG, which was set up by the Russian gas company's banking arm, ZAO Gazprom, and GWH, in which Gazprom controls 75% minus one share and OMV owns the rest. OMV transferred its supply contracts, first signed 35 years ago, to EconGas GmbH to comply with new European market rules on separating gas transportation and trading, EconGas spokesman Franz Wueger said in a telephone interview form Austria. OMV owns 50% of EconGas. Five regional gas companies own the other 50%. (Bloomberg)

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