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Gazprom allows BP unit to ship 1.7 bln cubic meters of gas

OAO Gazprom, Russia's natural-gas pipeline monopoly, gave BP Plc's Russian venture permission to ship 1.7 bln cubic meters of natural gas this year from a west Siberian unit, about 45% less than last year.

ZAO Rospan International, the unit, pumped 3.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year as cold weather boosted demand, said Marina Dracheva, a spokeswoman for BP Plc's TNK-BP venture, by telephone today. State-controlled Gazprom had agreed to accept 2.5 billion cubic meters from the unit. OAO Gazprom's output growth has lagged behind surging natural-gas consumption in Europe and Russia, raising concerns among consumers that supplies may fall short of demand.

The company buys gas from independent producers, oil companies and the central Asian countries of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The pipeline from the Achimov fields, where both Gazprom and Rospan produce natural gas, is „a mid-system bottleneck,” Dracheva said. „The field is ready to produce more if Gazprom finds it possible to provide extra capacity.” Rospan's field could produce about 15 billion cubic meters a year in four years, she said. Gazprom and Rospan sign gas-shipment agreements each year. (Bloomberg)