Gazprom to support Mol efforts to expand in Russia
Friday, June 2, 2006, 14:19
Gazprom would support efforts by Hungary's Mol Rt to expand its presence on Russia's oil producer market, the Russian giant announced after a meeting on Thursday in Moscow between Mol CEO Zsolt Hernádi and Gazprom head Alexei Miller.
Mol is bidding for a 96.9% stake in Russian peer Udmurtneft, owned by the Russian-British TNK-BP Holding. Gazprom is also bidding for the stake through its unit Gazprom Neft, formerly called Sibneft. Other bidders include Russia's Rosneft, China's Sinopec and a consortium of Russia's Itera and India's ONGC.
Industry insiders say TNK-BP could sell Udmurtneft to Gazprom Neft, even though it has reportedly offered the lowest price, in order to smooth later deals, namely approval for plans to sell gas from its big Kovykta field in east Siberia on the Chinese market.
Hernádi and Miller talked about “cooperating on developing further the production of oil and gas and its transit through Hungary to the rest of Europe,” Gazprom said in its statement. Gazprom has offered Hungary a role as distributor of gas from a planned extension of the Russian-Turkish pipeline through the Balkans. The pipeline would bypass Ukraine and be finished sooner than the Nabucco pipeline, which will deliver gas to Europe from Azerbaijan, and perhaps Iran, instead of Russia.
Also discussed at the meeting between Hernádi and Miller was the construction of a new strategic gas storage facility in Hungary, in which Gazprom would like to participate, the statement said. It added that talks on the matter would be held again in July.