Gazprom will invest $420 billion in the gas sector by 2030 to ensure enough supplies to the domestic market and exports, its chairman said in remarks published Thursday.
“It is an average of $18 billion per year. We have the money and it will be invested,” Dmitry Medvedev told Vedomosti in an interview. Medvedev rebutted criticism that state-controlled Gazprom was investing too little in production and instead chasing after acquisitions - including taking control of the Sakhalin-2 and Kovykta gas projects previously run by Western oil majors. He said joint ventures and asset swap deals with foreign partners would help ensure that Gazprom can supply the market in full. “Fears that there will be a deficit of gas on the Russian market are groundless,” he said. “There is only one gas shortage - for those who want to buy it on the cheap.”
Gazprom has said it was considering possible swap deals with a number of foreign companies, such as Germany's E.On and BASF and Britain's BP. Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister, is an influential protege of President Vladimir Putin's who has been widely tipped to run for election at next year's presidential election. Medvedev played down suggestions that he had higher ambitions, saying he was satisfied with his current job. He also forecast that Putin would express his support for a preferred successor at some point this fall.
The Gazprom-controlled Sakhalin-2 project said it had started testing its liquefied natural gas plant, a further step toward the country's first liquefied natural gas export sales, scheduled for 2008. The LNG facility at the Sakhalin-2 project will be commissioned, or tested, using gas from Shell's LNG tanker Granosa, which docked at the plant's jetty in Prigorodnoye earlier Thursday, project operator Sakhalin Energy said in a statement. The project also completed installation of a new offshore production platform, the last of three in place off the northeast coast of Sakhalin Island.
State-run Gazprom bought a majority holding in the oil and gas project, acquiring 50% plus one share for $7.45 billion in April from foreign owners Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, after months of threats by the Russian government to halt the development on environmental grounds. The stakes held by the three foreign companies dropped to 27.5%, 12.5% and 10%, respectively. (themoscowtimes.com)