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Building on a meeting last month in Moscow between Gazprom President Alekhsei Miller and North Korean Ambassador to Russia Kim Yong Jeh, a Gazprom delegation has flown to Pyongyang for energy cooperation discussions.
North Korean Minister of Oil Industry Kim Hui Yong met with Gazprom Chairman Alekhsandr Ananenkov to discuss cooperation on oil and gas and other bilateral issues, the company reported.
Gazprom is hedging its bets on the Korean peninsula, as in 2009 the natural gas state monopoly and South Korea's Kogas agreed to consider shipping Russian natural gas supplies to South Korea, the world's second largest customer for liquefied natural gas after Japan.
Gazprom, currently developing Russia's sole LNG project known as Sakhalin-2 with Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi Corp. located in the Sea of Japan, wants to expand into Asian markets and aims to supply 14 percent of the global LNG market by 2030.
Earlier discussions between Gazprom and North Korea centered around the possibility of constructing of a natural gas pipeline through North Korea to transit Russian gas from the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok transportation system to South Korea, but the discussion stalled after relations between the two Koreas soured. While the Russian Federation and North Korea share a common border, their bilateral trade suffered after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com