Italy’s oil and gas major Eni SpA said on Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with Russia’s gas giant Gazprom to jointly analyze the prospects for cooperation in developing the southern corridor for gas supplies from Russia to European countries, including Italy.
In their memorandum of understanding signed today, Eni and Gazprom also agreed to work to update the Russia-Italy gas supply agreements and to consider possible partnership options in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.
In December last year, Eni said that Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi confirmed their “continued close partnership in the gas market and detailed discussions on infrastructure solutions and on gas supply for the European market from the south corridor”.
The signing of the agreement today comes a week after the European Commission (EC) said that Gazprom had offered commitments to address the EU’s competition concerns regarding the Russian giant’s dominating gas markets in Central and Eastern Europe, and potentially abusing its dominant position in pricing.
Last month, Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev said that the Russian giant would increase the price it charges for its natural gas in the European Union this year, to $180-190 per 1,000 cubic meters, adding that Europe remains a priority market for the company. To compare, last year’s average price of Gazprom’s gas for Europe was $167 per 1,000 cu m, the lowest in 12 years.
Gazprom’s market share in Europe rose from 31 percent to 34 percent two years ago, and it is not about to change much in the coming years, Medvedev said in February. In fact, he predicted that Gazprom’s share will rise further to 35 percent. That’s despite efforts on the part of the EU authorities to diversify the sources of natural gas that supply the continent with the commodity.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and…