Alexander Medvedev answers your questions – Part two

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom, answers your questions.

In this second post, he answers questions on support from Vladimir Putin, the likelihood of a deal between South Stream and Nabucco and future Russian gas demand.

Earlier, he discussed changes to gas pricing, how reliable a partner his company is for EU countries and how Gazprom will respond to the shale gas boom.

Next in the hotseat are Terry Duffy and Craig Donohue, chairman and chief executive of the CME Group. They will be answering your oil-price related questions next Friday, February 25th. Send in your questions for consideration by the end of Sunday, February 20th to energysource@ft.com.

But for now, over to Alexander:

Prime ministerial backing

Criticising Gazprom’s recent export numbers, Putin reportedly said to the company that “You either work in an efficient manner or we will be forced to change the existing rules and move in favour of a change in the legislation”.

Given that Gazprom cited lower European demand for the disappointing figures (rather than inefficiency), do Putin’s words pose a threat to the company’s monopoly on Russian gas exports?
Rob Walker

Gazprom’s management is committed to running the most efficient and successful company possible. We are a commercially focussed organisation that is committed to creating viable investor returns, both in equity and debt capital markets. We are also committed to our long term customers, having been a secure supplier of natural gas to Europe for more than four decades. We believe that as the global economy picks up, stronger sales across the globe will drive growth and help cement our position in the global energy industry. This year we forecast that overall exports will reach a new high, with a total value of $72.1bn.

Gas pipelines

Given the manifest difficulties EU is going through to secure substantial volumes of gas for its project, would Gazprom be in favour of a merger between South Stream and Nabucco?
Luisa de Cesare

It should be noted that South Stream and Nabucco serve fundamentally different purposes. South Stream will grant South Eastern Europen customers direct access to Russian gas fields, fields from which they have been serviced for decades. When completed in 2015, it will add badly needed capacity to the European gas system and drastically reduce its vulnerability to major pipeline disruptions, wherever and for whatever reasons they may occur.

South Stream is primarily an investment in energy security and revenue enhancement not market share. South Stream is a joint venture between Gazprom as up and midstream provider and ENI and EDF as downstream energy clients. This is about enhancement of the current commercial relationships and developing markets.

Nabucco is different. We do not see Nabucco as a competitor, and we certainly don’t object to it. It is however a partnership of downstream companies looking to import fresh supply volumes from alternative gas sources.

Whilst I can’t speak about Nabucco’s purported benefits, I can tell you that South Stream will improve the energy security and functioning of the European gas market, while generating long term commercial profits, jobs and tax incomes across much of the region.

Turkey

Given its rapid growth in gas demand and its potential as a gas and power transit country, is Turkey also a priority market for Gazprom Export? If so, what is Gazprom’s plan for Turkey?
Merve Erdil

We have a long and successful history of co-operation in Turkey. We have long-term supply contracts with Turkey that we were able to increase in the short term, when Turkey experienced short term supply difficulties from its other producers. It is one of the leading developing economies in the world and we are not alone in suggesting that it has massive investment potential. We are therefore interested in developing our business in Turkey as its economy develops and demand for natural gas grows.

Russian gas demand

What are Gazprom’s projections for gas demand in Russia going forward: will it stagnate, decline or grow in the long run?
Zaur Muslumov, senior consultant, Palantir Solutions

Our projections are that the Russian economy will grow, and that the demand for natural gas will therefore increase as well.

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