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Gas debate heats up - Nov 18

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Gazprom defends rigid contract terms with Europe

Nataliya Vasilyeva, BusinessWeek
Gazprom on Tuesday defended its inflexible supply contracts with Europe, which critics say are driving customers away and under which the Russian producer claims it is owed $2.5 billion.

Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev told a televised conference in Moscow that Gazprom does not have enough "grounds to bring substantial changes" to the take-or-pay terms of its long-term contracts.

Under the take-or-pay contracts, European customers must buy a fixed minimum amount of gas no matter how much of it they actually need -- or pay fines.

The world's largest natural gas producer insisted last month that its European customers must honor commitments to pay in full for contracted volumes and claimed they owe it $2.5 billion under those rules...
(17 Nov 2009)

Gazprom dismisses warnings of lengthy gas glut

Rowena Mason, Telegraph
The International Energy Agency (IEA) argued last week that lower industrial activity during the recession and a boost in production from unconventional supplies, such as US shale gas, means that supply will outstrip demand until 2015.

But Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy chief executive, told a Russian gas conference that despite the "record decline for the whole history of the industry" this year, the 5pc to 7pc drop in European demand was only transient.

"We can expect a temporary surplus of gas to disappear as early as in 2011," Mr Medvedev said. "In this case, prices under spot contracts and oil-based contracts will become equal."

The Russian state-owned monopoly believes European demand will rise 13pc next year as industry recovers from the recession, pushing up depressed prices...
(17 Nov 2009)

EU seeks Russian energy boost

BBC news
Europe's need for stable deliveries of Russian gas will loom large at an EU-Russia summit in the Swedish capital Stockholm on Wednesday.

The EU does not want another Russia-Ukraine gas crisis this winter
The August 2008 Russia-Georgia war and the disruption of Russian gas exports last winter led to frosty relations with the EU, and a new partnership deal is still being negotiated.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev will participate in the meeting, which is expected to include discussion of trade, climate change and human rights.

The EU has pushed for a mechanism to prevent any repeat of the January 2009 Russian gas shutdown, which left millions of people in Eastern Europe shivering in unheated homes and forced dozens of factories to suspend operations.

On Monday the EU and Russia agreed to set up an early warning system to ensure that EU importers of Russian gas would not be plunged into another crisis...
(18 Nov 2009)

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