28 Jul 2009 19:33

Russia interested in cooperation with GDF Suez on LNG market

MOSCOW. July 28 (Interfax) - Russia is interested in cooperation with France's GDF Suez on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with GDF Suez CEO Gerard Mestrallet on Tuesday.

"We know about the level of your competence in the area of LNG. We are interested in developing our cooperation in this area as well as other fields," Putin said.

Putin said he was referring to cooperation in fields such as transportation, electricity and renewable energy resources.

GDF Suez is one of Russia's most reliable partners, he said. "GDF Suez is our long-time, reliable partner and one of the largest European energy companies," he said.

Putin also noted that he recently met with Total CEO Christophe de Margerie. "It's nice that we are engaged in a dialogue with French companies," he said.

Mestrallet, for his part, said GDF Suez is interested in cooperation with Gazprom .

"Our company posted turnover of $83 billion this year for 200,000 employees," he said.

After GDF Suez was formed, it became Europe's number one company by purchases, in particular LNG, he said. The company handles transportation and distribution, and its network is the longest in Europe.

"We are also second in Europe in terms of underground gas storage networks," he said.

It was reported earlier that GDF Suez was holding talks with Gazprom on the marketing of LNG produced as part of the development of the Shtokman gas condensate field. Gazprom needs to first reach agreement on the sale of the bulk of LNG produced in the first phase of the Shtokman project before it initiates talks with banks on project financing for the first phase.