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Platts: Nomination of Germany's Schröder to Rosneft board hints at natural gas shift

17 August 2017 , 12:14Neftegaz.RU305

The nomination by the Russian government of German Ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to join the board of Rosneft as an independent director comes as momentum continues to build toward a liberalization of Russian pipeline natural gas exports, Platts reported on August 16, 2017.

 

Rosneft and other leading independent gas producers have been lobbying Moscow hard to allow them to export gas by pipeline having already secured a concession to export LNG.

The nomination of Schröder - who has forged close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin - could suggest a change in the government's attitude toward Russian pipeline gas exports.

 

Schröder is chairman of the Nord Stream shareholders committee, representing investors in Gazprom's 55 Bcm/year gas pipeline to Germany, and is also chairman of the board of directors of the Gazprom-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline project - the controversial planned expansion of the Nord Stream link.

 

Should Schröder be appointed to the Rosneft board at an extraordinary general meeting at the end of September as expected, he could play a role of intermediary between Gazprom and Rosneft, adding new impetus to the idea that Rosneft-produced gas could be exported to Europe via pipeline in the near future despite the monopoly currently enjoyed by Gazprom over piped supplies.

 

Rosneft - run by close Putin ally Igor Sechin - has a long-held ambition to break the Gazprom monopoly and enter the European gas market.

 

The nomination of Schröder lends support to the idea that Rosneft could be looking to the northwest - if Nord Stream 2 is built it would double the capacity of the route to 110 Bcm/year, presumably allowing Rosneft to flow some of its volumes through the pipelines.

 

Gazprom, however, has dismissed the need for change. Its deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said in June that allowing other companies to export Russian gas by pipeline would not benefit the state.

«I don't see any economic sense in this. Not for Gazprom, and not for the Russian state,» Medvedev said.

 

He also denied reports that Gazprom was in talks to act as a middleman for Rosneft's gas exports.

But with Schröder headed to Rosneft, albeit as an independent director, the mood may be shifting given his existing ties to Gazprom and the Nord Stream pipelines.

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