Friday, June 26, 2009
Gazprom: Deals near with Azerbaijan
June 26, 2009 - Business Week-AP - Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, said Friday it hoped to sign key deals in Azerbaijan next week, raising the possibility that Russia will secure Azeri gas to feed pipelines to Europe. "We enjoy good relations with Azerbaijan," chief executive Alexei Miller said at a shareholders' meeting at the company's Moscow headquarters. "And we hope that during next week's trip to Baku we will reach important agreements." State-run Gazprom has sought in recent years to corner the Central Asian gas supply, and reached preliminary agreement in March to buy Azeri gas from 2010. Russia requires more gas to feed two planned gas export pipelines -- North Stream and South Stream -- that would enable it to boost supplies substantially to Europe over the next decade. The European Union is backing a rival Europe-bound pipeline project called Nabucco that would hook up Central Asian or Middle Eastern gas with a pipeline in Turkey. The project has progressed slowly, however, because its investors have not yet secured supplies to fill it.