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ptrocanada, Gazprom Stroke a Win-Win Deal

'"This is a win-win project for Gazprom and for PetroCanada"

PetroCanada and Gazprom have signed an agreement for the initial engineering design of a Baltic gas liquefaction plant near St. Petersburg in Russia.

PetroCanada has been eyeing a long time the plans to import Russian gas into North America in order to meet growing demand from consumers and industry.

Preliminary studies of the Baltic plant, expected to cost about $1.5 billion and start up in 2010, will provide cost and schedule estimates, PetroCanada said. The two firms will split the $5-million cost of the preliminary studies.

''This is a win-win project for Gazprom and for PetroCanada,'' Petro-Canada CEO Ron Brenneman said in a conference call.

The partnership will provide Gazprom with ''easy shipping access to the Quebec and Ontario markets'' and for PetroCanada ''represents a significant entry into the North American LNG market,'' Brenneman said.

Once the liquid gas is regasified, it would be fed into Eastern Canada's natural gas pipeline network for delivery to consumers and businesses in Ontario and Quebec.