Gazprom 2010 exports close to minimum take-or-pay levels
Russian Gazprom is expecting a 15% pick up in export volumes to what it terms "far abroad" in 2010. The forecast level is 161 billion cubic metres (Gm³), up from a final figure of 140.2Gm³ in 2009, Sergei Komlev, Gazprom Export's head of contract structuring and price formation directorate, told ICIS Heren on Thursday.
If true, the increase could see one of the main issues of 2009 - the impact of underlifting contract volumes - take a back seat this year.
This figure represents exports beyond the former Soviet Union (FSU), not including Baltic states or Moldova but including Turkey, Romania and Serbia.
Komlev said the rise was based on expectations of economic recovery and the transfer of former RosUkrenergo supply contracts. "We expect to sell close to minimum quantities from take-or-pay contracts this year," Komlev told ICIS Heren.
He confirmed that several companies had incurred underlifting penalties in the last contract year, including E.ON Ruhrgas. He said the German company's penalty was below the $140m (€99m) figure reported in the Russian press recently, but declined to give a specific figure for price or volume.
Komlev confirmed that Russian long-term contracts allow make-up volumes for up to five years ahead. "This is not really a penalty therefore; it is more like a prepayment," he said. Russian contracts typically have price re-openers every three years, but the buyer can also play a "joker" to reopen negotiations within that period. Komlev confirmed that only one customer had used this "joker" in the last contract year. "There have rather been planned negotiations under the procedure of the existing contracts," he said.
Komlev said Gazprom was not minded to change the pricing structure of its existing contracts. "If we include a spot price index now, we are simply giving a discount to our customers," he told ICIS Heren. Expressing his own opinion, Komlev said that if spot linkage was introduced it could only be done for separate contracts, but he did not confirm that Gazprom had already, or would in future provide a spot-price linked contract.
"If you compare hubs with the oil-linked contracts, you are not comparing like with like," Komlev said. He said this was because long-term contracts guarantee security of supply, through guaranteed infrastructure with a known price formula. He likened sourcing from spot gas to gambling by comparison. LB
Other Related Stories