Russia today signed a preliminary agreement on building a natural-gas pipeline through Greece. The deal signals strengthening ties between the countries as the crisis-stricken government in Athens is increasingly isolated from the rest of Europe.
Russian gas company Gazprom may offer up to 49 percent in its Baltic LNG project to a strategic partner and the most likely candidates are Royal Dutch Shell or a consortium of Japanese firms, Russia's Kommersant newspaper said on Wednesday. The agreement may be signed this week during an economic forum in Russia's second city of St Petersburg, it reported, quoting sources in the gas industry.
A meeting between the head of Russia's Gazprom's and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz is expected to be rescheduled for next week as both sides strive to finalise agreement on a proposed underwater gas pipeline to Turkey, a senior energy ministry official said on Wednesday. Turkey was named as Russia's preferred partner for an alternative to its planned South Stream pipeline to carry gas to southern Europe without crossing Ukraine after Russia aborted the project in December, citing EU objections.
Gazprom has been given more time to respond to charges by European Union antitrust regulators after it was alleged the company levies excessive prices and blocks rivals in Eastern Europe. The European Commission announced in April that the Russian oil giant had been given 12 weeks to reply to the charges. Antitrust regulators had brought the charges after more than two years of investigation.
OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas exporter, said profit fell 86 percent as financing costs rose. Net income shrank to 159 billion rubles ($3 billion) in 2014 from 1.14 trillion rubles the previous year, the Moscow-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts expected profit of 665 billion rubles, according to the average of five estimates compiled.
Antitrust regulators in the European Union have charged Gazprom with abusing its position in Eastern European countries. Earlier this week it was revealed charges could be brought against the Russian energy giant. Now, after more than two years of investigation, the European Commission said the company had hindered competition across countries including Poland and Hunga
OAO Gazprom will get an antitrust complaint from the European Union as soon as Wednesday in a two-year-old probe into gas pricing that’s been delayed amid political tension in Ukraine, according to an EU official. The EU, which relies heavily on Russian gas, will send a statement of objections to Gazprom that lays out where regulators see possible violations of competition law, according to the official, who asked not to be identified because the decision isn’t public. The EU was examining whether the company’s contracts unfairly link oil and gas prices and prevent customers from reselling gas. The complaint would be the second in as many weeks for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who escalated a probe into search-engine giant Google Inc. The 47-year-old Vestager said last week that she planned to act “decisively against energy companies that harm rivals” and “block energy flows from one EU country to another.”
Russia’s $400 billion gas-supply deal with China in 2014 took almost a decade to pull off. While state-run exporter OAO Gazprom pushes to cement ties, lackluster energy markets suggest a second agreement may be slow to follow. Crude oil, the main component of Russia’s gas-pricing formula, has tumbled almost 40 percent in six months, weakening Gazprom’s bargaining power. The slump has reduced the funds available for a second Russian pipeline to China. “The lower oil price has caused too much trouble” for financing two pipeline projects, said Keun-Wook Paik, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Russia may seek to prioritize the second pipe, cheaper and quicker to build yet less useful for China, which knows “leverage is on their side,” he said.
The Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Ukraine has requested one billion cubic metres of gas imports from Russia this month. It would treble the amount received in March and comes after Naftogaz and Russia’s Gazprom signed an interim deal for cheaper supplies of gas from Russia. The deal, which is expected to last three month, could help provide some time as both country’s debate energy costs.
Russia could cut off supplies to neighbouring Ukraine by the end of the week if it does not get further payments from the country, a spokesman for the gas company Gazprom has said. Sergei Kupriyanov said in televised remarks that “if no new funds are received from Kiev, then naturally we cannot continue delivering gas to Ukraine”. He did not specify the sum. Following a bruising dispute over prices and debt that raised fears of supply disruptions in Europe, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal in October requiring Kiev to pay in advance for gas shipments. Mr Kupriyanov said that discussions with Ukraine’s gas company, Naftogaz, were ongoing, but gave no other details about the talks.
Russian energy company Gazprom said it was cutting expenses by more than $200million in an effort to streamline operations going forward. The board of directors said it was cutting expenses by $238.7 million and expecting around $1.65 billion in foreign loans. The Russian Central Bank last week raised its key interest rate by 6.5% to 17% in an effort to arrest the decline of the nation's currency.