* Gazprom says BP interested in Nord Stream extension
* BP free to pursue new business in Russia after agreeing
sale of TNK-BP
* Gazprom agreed longest-ever spot based term deal with
* Seeks more European storage
By Denis Pinchuk
MOSCOW, Nov 14 Russia's Gazprom could
sign a preliminary deal to extend its export pipelines to
Britain next year, a project in which the Russian gas export
monopoly has attracted interest from BP, it said.
Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexei Miller said in June the
British major was interested in participating in an expanded
Nord Stream pipeline which would deliver Russian gas straight to
At the time, industry sources said BP's interest in Nord
Stream brought objections from its partner in TNK-BP,
which had insisted on sticking to an obligation to explore
business opportunities only in Russia through their joint
But BP and the four tycoons who share control of the No. 3
Russian oil producer agreed to drop that obligation after
agreeing to sell TNK-BP to Russian state oil company Rosneft
, leaving BP free to pursue new ventures in Russia.
A BP spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Nord Stream's first two phases, with a total capacity of 55
billion cubic metres of annual export capacity, stretches from
Russia's Baltic coast to Germany. The second phase was launched
last month but is not pumping at full capacity.
On a practical level, sources in British energy circles in
Moscow say Nord Stream is unlikely to reach Britain before 2018.
Gazprom's marketing and trading division has business in
Britain, and Gazprom's export division, which is highly critical
of low liquidity on spot markets on the European continent, says
it views Britain's National Balancing Point as viable for
pricing of its gas.
Gazprom M&T signed its longest-ever spot indexed contract
with Centrica in September, selling 2.4 billion cubic
metres of gas for delivery to the British utility via the
sub-sea interconnector between Belgium and Britain over three
years starting in 2014.
In the report, it also said it aimed to increase its European
storage capacity to 4.8 billion cubic metres in the coming two
years. Its main European storage asset is a 2.8 bcm underground
storage facility at Haidach, Austria.
In an asset swap with BASF, Gazprom will take
full control of that facility and two European storage
facilities as well as European trading units in return for an
increased role for BASF's oil and gas unit in a Siberian