Gazprom strikes gas deal with China

Annual general shareholders’ meeting of Gazprom

Russian gas giant Gazprom has signed an initial contract to supply China with natural gas. The news may peturb those chemical companies in central and eastern Europe who are nervous about reliable gas supplies this winter, particularly those who rely on gas flowing through Ukraine.

Last winter large parts of the chemical sector in Ukraine and other countries were affected by lack of gas reserves.

According to the Associated Press, “Gazprom’s chief executive Alexei Miller (pictured, right) said the agreement between Russia’s state-run natural gas monopoly and China National Petroleum Corp. calls for the supply of 70 billion cubic meters of gas a year. A price had not been set and no contract signed yet.

Chinese media reports have said the agreement is expected to be a gas-for-loans deal similar to a $25 billion oil-for-loans deal that was completed earlier this year.

Russia and China are increasingly overcoming traditional mistrust to push ahead on mutual economic interests.

Russia’s cash-strapped energy companies need Chinese funding, while Beijing has welcomed the chance to further diversify sources for energy needed to fuel its fast-growing economy. The global economic crisis and changing market conditions have further spurred cooperation as lower demand from Europe has spurred Russia to diversify markets for its oil and gas.”

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