It’s the world’s largest gas producer, gas exporter, and gas distribution company with nearly 100,000 miles of gas trunk lines and branches. The Russian government owns 50.01% of it. At home, it has to sell gas under cost, one of the Soviet leftovers. It relies on high-profit sales from Europe to make up for it. But Europe is diversifying away from its single most important supplier.
Competitors include Russia’s number two, Novatek, and Norway—the second largest natural gas exporter in the world. So, in April, Gazprom had to lower its European sales guidance for 2012. Its market share in Europe was 27% last year, and it’s shooting for 30% by 2020, but if the US shale-gas boom ever infects Europe, those plans would become a pipe dream—and if the high-profit sales from Europe tapered off further, it would have to raise prices at home, a political nightmare. Hence its fight by hook or crook against shale gas in France.
Gazprom’s “underhanded tactics” and “scaremongering about a new technology” have Moscow’s nod of approval and are designed to dissuade governments from developing their own shale-gas reserves, according to a report by Platts, a global provider of information on energy, petrochemicals, and metals. Efforts include all manner of operations, online and through encouraging demonstrations, but also paying public relation firms to spread “myths and misconceptions,” said Aviezer Tucker, assistant director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. A “European Union-wide ban” on shale-gas production, he said, would be the “holy grail.”
With France already knocked off, Sergei Komlev of Gazprom Export has been bouncing around the world in his fight against European shale gas. At a meeting in Qatar, according to Platts’ report, he gave a presentation. “Multiple Handicaps Will Retard Shale Gas Development Outside US” was the title of one of his slides. “Fortunately, it claimed, “European shale gas development faces numerous econombic, regulatory, and political barriers before there are significant amounts of shale gas production, not sooner than in ten or more years.”
Breathing room for Gazprom in the natural gas war.
Read the entire article here
The shale gas alliance, mentioned in my previous post, is needed also in order to prevent Putin and his allies from destroying a unique chance to get rid of the dependence on Russian energy!