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Monday, February 16, 2009

Gazprom CEO Miller Meets U.S. Ambassador in Moscow

Feb. 13, 2009 (Bloomberg by L. Kim) - OAO Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller met with U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle in Moscow as Russia’s largest energy producer seeks to burnish its image among investors and consumers. Miller and Beyrle discussed Russian-U.S. energy cooperation at Gazprom’s headquarters today, the state-run company said in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating. Gazprom is on a drive to restore investor confidence after its share price collapsed 66 percent since May and the company shut off gas supplies to Europe last month during a pricing dispute with Ukraine. Top managers, including chief of exports Alexander Medvedev, made their case to investors in Moscow, London and New York this week. Medvedev suggested during the two-week gas cutoff that former President George W. Bush’s administration may have encouraged Ukraine’s pro-western government to show intransigence during negotiations with Gazprom. Since the inauguration of Barack Obama in January, Russia has welcomed a renewal of relations with the U.S. Beyrle, who became ambassador in July and is a fluent Russian speaker, met with Nikolai Tokarev, the head of national oil pipeline operator OAO Transneft, two weeks ago. Miller and Medvedev led a delegation to Alaska in October to discuss possible cooperation there with companies such as ConocoPhillips. Gazprom wants to break into the U.S. market after it begins shipping liquefied natural gas from Sakhalin Island later this year. LNG, gas chilled to a liquid, can be loaded onto tankers and transported around the world. Gazprom Marketing & Trading, a company unit, opened its Houston office in 2006.

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