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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mitsui in talks with Gazprom to expand tie-up

May 13, 2009 - Reuters by Sachi Izumi - TOKYO - Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co is in talks with Gazprom to expand their alliance on the Russian gas export monopoly's projects in Russia, it said on Thursday. Mitsui, fellow Japanese trading firm Mitsubishi Corp and Royal Dutch Shell are Gazprom's partners at the Sakhalin-2 project, which recently shipped Russia's first liquefied natural gas to Japan. The Nikkei business daily said earlier they are considering an alliance on the Chayanda gas field in eastern Siberia, which has estimated gas reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic metres, and the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, which has estimated gas reserves of more than 3 trillion cubic metres. "We are considering whether we can form alliances in Gazprom's other projects in Russia, based on our partnership we developed through the Sakhalin-2 project, and we are discussing such a possibility with Gazprom," Mitsui said in a statement. A spokesman said they are not yet discussing details. Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan on Tuesday to explore gas projects in eastern Russia, seeking ways to process gas near the Pacific city of Vladivostok for supply to consumers in Russia and the Asia-Pacific region including Japan. The Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, part of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as Itochu Corp and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (Japex) signed the memorandum. Mitsui shares fell 4.4 percent to 1,127 yen by midmorning against a 2.3 percent slide in the benchmark Nikkei average.

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