BP may offer Gazprom LNG assets in Kovykta deal

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

BP’s Russian unit, TNK-BP, is in the final stages of negotiations to try and keep some of its 62.7 percent stake in the Kovykta natural gas project in Russia, which holds estimated reserves of 70 trillion cubic feet.

As part of these negotiations, the Russian media has been speculating that BP could offer gas monopoly Gazprom international LNG assets, which could include access to some of BP’s broad LNG portfolio that stretches from the UK to Indonesia and all along the LNG value chain.

TNK-BP, a joint venture between the UK company and Russian private investors, has been warned about licence violations at its Kovykta natural gas field in Siberia.

The ploy is the same one used by the Russian authorities as a way of gaining control for Gazprom of the formerly Royal Dutch Shell-run Sakhalin II LNG project.

Meanwhile, BP said in its Statistical Review of World Energy June 2007 that LNG shipments rose by a strong 11.8 percent in 2006, well above the 10-year average.

LNG receipts in Asia, the world’s largest regional market, rose by 10 percent, while European imports rose by 20 percent and US imports declined slightly.

Egypt, Nigeria, Qatar and Australia saw the largest increases in LNG exports.

The BP Review said global natural gas consumption grew by 2.5 percent in 2006, below the 3.4 percent growth seen in 2005 but close to the 10-year average.

Declining US and EU consumption was offset by strong growth in Russia and China. In the US, gas consumption declined for the second year in a row, despite an increase in gas used for power generation.

European consumption fell, due to a combination of high prices and warmer-than-normal weather. Large declines were seen in the UK as well as in eastern European countries that experienced large increases in contracted prices.

Russian gas consumption increased strongly, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the global increase. Chinese consumption grew by more than 20 percent.

Gas production rose by 3 percent in 2006, slightly above the 10-year average. Russia accounted for the largest incremental growth in production, led by rapid growth among independent producers.