The International Energy Agency, which advises 26 petroleum-consuming countries, is concerned Russia's OAO Gazprom is not investing enough to increase its natural-gas reserves, the head of the IEA said.
Output at OAO Gazprom's gas fields is decreasing, and the IEA is concerned the company, the world's largest gas producer, may not be able to supply all the fuel needed by western Europe as early as 2010, IEA director Claude Mandil said in an interview in Athens yesterday, where he attended an energy conference. „The gap could be of several billion cubic meters a year by 2010-1015,” Mandil said, referring to the difference between what Gazprom is contracted to supply to western Europe and what it would be able to supply, according to the IEA estimates.
„Gazprom is saying that it is investing, but doesn't want to give us its own estimates, so we're not very confident.” The importance of Russian gas is increasing for western European nations as their own oil and gas reserve run out. Gazprom already accounts for a quarter of Europe's gas supply. Mandil, a Frenchman, will step down in September after four years as head of the Paris-based IEA, to be replaced by Japan's Nobuo Tanaka. The agency was set up in 1974 when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, producer of 40% of the world's crude oil, began exerting control over crude oil prices. (Bloomberg)