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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gazprom-Japan LNG spat reported

26 May 2009 - Daily News – - GAZPROM sources have told Russian reporters that it has asked Japanese buyers of LNG to reduce delivery prices. Long-term delivery contracts for the LNG to be shipped to Japan obliged Gazprom, and the project company Sakhalin Energy, to start deliveries last September, the sources added. But Sakhalin Energy’s spokeswoman Yevgeniya Oleinikova told Fairplay that the February start-up had been planned for more than a year and that her company is meeting its contract obligations. She did not deny the reports on contract obligations but said this was confidential commercial information. Gazprom's official spokesman Denis Ignatiev would not confirm the Russian news reports. The 18 February launch of Gazprom’s – and Russia's – first LNG shipments from Aniva Bay, on the Sea of Japan, took place too late to save the company from having to make spot-market deliveries since last year, the news reports explained. When the first tanker loading was postponed until February, Gazprom had to pay $850M for deliveries to cover its contracts to the end of 2008, plus another $390M this year, until the first tanker load arrived. Gazprom is reportedly insisting that the losses from the difference between the spot price and the contract price should be reflected on Sakhalin Energy's balance sheet. The issue is reported to have grown out of a dispute with Sakhalin Energy’s managers over Gazprom’s view that LNG prices for contracts signed up to five years ago had been excessively low. Gazprom is seeking to renegotiate the pricing.

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