Monday, February 09, 2009
Russian gas giant Gazprom plans British electricity sales
02-07-2009 - DailyMail OnLine by Tom McGhie - Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas giant that boasts Manchester United, Chelsea and Bhs among its customers, wants to add electricity sales to its UK portfolio. It applied to energy regulator Ofgem last week for a licence to sell electricity to commercial and industrial users. Ofgem is expected to give its consent by early May, when the Russians will go back to their customers and offer them an electricity deal. Gazprom Marketing & Trading, which is based in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, has grown rapidly over the past two years. From 1,000 business customers in 2006, it now boasts 14,000 customers and has a four per cent share of the UK commercial gas market. Over the next five years, GM&T aims to capture a 15 per cent share of the business market and believes that by adding electricity to its portfolio it will accelerate sales. There are no plans yet to enter the domestic market, but the company has not ruled out trying to force its way in by buying a major UK player such as Centrica, owner of British Gas. At present, Gazprom's strategy is to grow organically. Vitaly Vasiliev, chief executive of GM&T, said that it would be 'several years' before household customers would be able to switch to Gazprom.