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BBC News: Gazprom expands French presence

Gazprom is to supply gas directly to French homes and firms for the first time through a deal with Gaz de France.

The Russian firm will start supplying French customers in July, providing 1.5 billion cubic metres a year to them.

The two firms have extended existing supply contracts to 2030, enabling Gazprom to deliver an extra 2.5 billion cubic metres a year to western Europe.

Gazprom is expanding rapidly across Europe and has been linked with a bid for British energy firm Centrica.

Long-term partners

As a monopoly supplier in Russia, Gazprom is looking to foreign markets for future growth.

It supplied France with 13 billion cubic metres of gas last year and this is set to increase.

Gazprom and Gaz de France have been doing business with each other since 1975 but their partnership was expanded in 2003 to include co-operation in areas such as storage, transmission, training and the sale of liquefied natural gas.

Gaz de France currently sources just under a quarter of its gas from Russia, while Russia is France’s second-largest gas supplier after Norway.

The French firm said the deal cemented its relationship with Gazprom and ensured the diversity of its gas supplies.

“The extension of our commercial co-operation with Gazprom helps to ensure the long-term reliability of our customers’ supply in France and in Europe,” said Jean-Francois Cirelli, Gaz de France’s chief executive.

Gazprom said the deal reflected its strategy of finding new customers across Europe.

It comes just days after it concluded a long-term contract to supply gas to Bulgaria.

Separately, Russian oil firm Lukoil has confirmed it is to buy 376 petrol stations across western Europe from US company ConocoPhillips.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/19 11:59:40 GMT

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