Gazprom Mulls Joint Projects With Iran

Gazprom Mulls Joint Projects With IranGazprom Mulls Joint Projects With Iran

Russian energy giant Gazprom is exploring the possibilities of closer cooperation with Iran since the international sanctions against the country were lifted last week, the chairman of the company’s board of directors said on Wednesday.

"We need to work on joint projects, investment programs. Sanctions are being scrapped, so we need to work with this country," Viktor Zubkov told reporters, adding delivery swaps were an option, Sputnik News reported.

Last December, Gazprom and the National Iranian Gas Company held talks on expanding Iran’s underground gas storage and its gas transport network, as well as equipment deliveries from Russia.

Asked whether Iran’s return to the energy market would have a serious impact on gas trade, Zubkov said it would be felt primarily by the oil market.

Iran is expected to increase exports by 500,000 barrels per day immediately upon the lifting of sanctions and by a further 500,000 bpd over the following six months to take export volumes to the pre-2012 level of 2.3 million bpd, according to the International Energy Agency.

  Russian Gas Exports to Germany

Russia raised its natural gas exports to Germany via the Nord Stream twin pipelines that cross the Baltic Sea by 10% in 2015, its operator said on Friday.

The rise came despite a call by the European Commission for EU member states to reduce dependence on Russian energy imports but at 39.1 billion cubic meters volumes remained well below Nord Stream's capacity of 55 bcm.

Utilization rose to 71% from 65% in 2014 and 43% in 2013.

Russian gas exporter Gazprom owns a 51% stake in the Nord Stream consortium.

Germany's E.ON and BASF SE/Wintershall Holding each own 15.5%, while Dutch firm Gasunie and France's Engie control 9% each. The consortium has plans to double Nord Stream's capacity with the construction of a third and fourth pipeline, but some EU governments have spoken out against the plan.

EU relations with Moscow have deteriorated following Russia's March 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Late that year, Russia shelved plans for a pipeline across the Black Sea to Bulgaria after EU opposition to the project that was designed to bypass Ukraine.

Europe relies on Russia for about a third of its gas, almost half of which is piped across Ukraine.