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Gazprom Launches U.S. Marketing and Trading

With the startup of its U.S. operations, Russian-based Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd. has achieved its "goal of bringing the world's largest gas company into the world's largest gas market," said CEO Vitaly Vasiliev last Thursday.

"Innovative, long-term gas swap transactions" underpin the physical gas supplies of Houston-based Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA (GMT), allowing the firm "a substantial gas supply position in North America," the company said.

GMT has signed deals giving it more than 350 MMcf/d of physical supplies at several locations across the United States for the next three to seven years, said GMT President John Hattenberger. "Our goal now is to grow from that position rapidly and expand into all major North American markets."

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exported to North America by Gazprom Group affiliates also will be marketed by GMT. In May the company signed long-term agreements enabling it to buy LNG from the Sakhalin-2 LNG plant off Russia's Pacific coast. That LNG unit started production in the first quarter, and some of its output is regasified at Sempra Energy LNG's plant in Baja California, Mexico, piped to Southern California and sold into southwestern U.S. markets (see NGI, April 13).

In June GMT said it was aiming to supply 10% of the North American LNG market (see NGI, June 15). GMT also said earlier this year that it plans to import LNG to the United States from the Shtokman LNG projects in the Arctic.

OAO Gazprom, the world's largest gas company, holds 17% of the global gas reserves and has a pipeline system that, among other things, supplies around a quarter of Europe's gas. Gazprom supplies 32 other countries in addition to Russia with gas. And by itself, Gazprom produced 55 Bcf/d of gas in 2007 -- about the same amount produced in the United States.

"Our goal is to be a major trading company in North America," Hattenberger told attendees at Intelligence Press Inc.'s GasMart 2009 earlier this year (see NGI, May 25).

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