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Rosneft Challenges Gazprom On International Gas Markets

Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft is increasingly challenging the biggest Russian gas producer and exclusive gas exporter Gazprom on gas markets outside Russia, Reuters reported on Friday, citing five industry sources in the know.

“Rosneft has been long trying to persuade the Kremlin to dismantle Gazprom’s monopoly. Having failed to do it from within Russia, they are now trying to do this externally,” one of the sources who works with Rosneft on gas projects told Reuters.

Oil-focused Rosneft has recently won natural gas deals in West Africa and Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan that have been initially supposed to go to Gazprom, the sources say.

Last week, Rosneft signed and announced many deals at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. One was a deal that Rosneft signed with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the port of Tema in Ghana over 12 years, the regasification, and subsequent supply of the natural gas to GNPC.

According to three of Reuters’ sources, however, the deal was initially planned to be awarded to Gazprom, which had signed a preliminary agreement with Ghana last September. But Gazprom was slow to finalize the agreement because it was in the process of restructuring its overseas exports division, the sources told Reuters.

Rosneft also signed last week a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria’s Oranto Petroleum Limited on potential cooperation in the implementation of oil and gas projects in Africa.

In Kurdistan, Rosneft and the Kurdistan Regional Government pledged to carry out a detailed analysis of potential gas cooperation options.

The Kurdistan deal had also been offered to Gazprom, although much earlier—at the end of the last decade, two sources close to the contract told Reuters.

One step in this plan is a pre-FEED of Kurdistan’s gas pipeline construction and operation, Rosneft said. The possible pipeline could supply gas to Turkey and to Europe—this could put Rosneft in direct competition with Gazprom on the European gas market.

Rosneft may take some market share from Gazprom outside Russia, but it’s not likely to significantly dent Gazprom’s dominance in Europe, where the gas giant holds more than one-third of the gas supply market.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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