Russian-based natural gas behemoth Gazprom has added a new wrinkle to its all-out plunge into North American energy markets by riding the climate change wave and the focus on reducing carbon emissions, according to John Hattenberger, president and managing director for Gazprom Marketing and Trading USA Inc.

He reiterated the firm’s carbon interest as part of his keynote address to the LDC Gas Forum: West & Rockies in Irvine, CA, Tuesday after first emphasizing that business expansion at GasMart in Chicago last May (see Power Market Today, May 21).

Gazprom has a carbon trading desk as part of the marketing/trading operation it opened Oct. 1, Hattenberger said (see related story). Overall, Gazprom has a team of 14 professionals concentrating on nothing but carbon in its London office, and it has a small team in its Houston office that he said it working “to establish a strong position in the global emissions trading in North America.”

Hattenberger said Gazprom has been working on harnessing carbon dioxide for some time, and it is a very big trader of carbon emissions worldwide. He said the company maintains a “strong physical play” in the carbon markets.

“Everybody should be concerned about how they are going to get into compliance with coming regulations,” he said. “So we have an active carbon business already up and running, and we have low-cost throughout the market all around the world.

One of the areas on which Gazprom is concentrating in anticipation of U.S. carbon legislation is to join others in the industry calling for carbon standards. Whether it is liquefied natural gas or carbon there are now much more fully international markets in play, Hattenberger said, and thus “we can no longer sit here in North America and look only at domestic solutions.”

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