FEBRUARY 20 2012 13:25h

Gazprom downplays U.S. natural gas

Text

MOSCOW, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Rising expectations about U.S. natural gas exports doesn't mean it would be a major competitor to Russia's Gazprom, an executive said.

With Russia falling to the No. 2 position in terms of natural gas production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration last month said the United States would be a net exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2016. Initial sales would be around 1.1 billion cubic feet per day.

Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy chief executive, told Bloomberg News Gazprom didn't expect major competition from U.S. natural gas.

"I don't anticipate that the LNG exports from the United States could reach big volumes," he was quoted as saying.

Gazprom said its total LNG trade levels reached more than 100 billion cubic feet last year but that's not enough to meet demands from booming Asian economies.

Medvedev, however, said he "optimistically expects" that Gazprom would sign a supply contract for more natural gas sales to China by the end of the year. It was also looking forward to work in Mozambique, where the Russian energy company saw "lots of capacity."

Gazprom faced supply problems this year after it was unable to cope with rising demand during a brutal cold snap that gripped most of its European consumers. Russia supplies Europe with about one quarter of its natural gas.