Gazprom Unfazed by Palin Spiel

Gazprom said Tuesday that it offered to help Alaska increase gas supplies to the U.S. mainland, even after Governor Sarah Palin warned against Russia's resurgence while campaigning to become vice president.

The company sent eight senior executives to Anchorage for talks Monday with Alaska's Department of Natural Resources and ConocoPhillips chief executive Jim Mulva, state and company officials said.

The courtship of Alaska comes less than a month after Palin criticized Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for "rearing his head" over Russia's maritime border with her home state.

CEO Alexei Miller was accompanied by deputies Valery Golubev and Alexander Medvedev, who oversees the country's gas exports.

A working breakfast was held with Palin supporter and former Alaska Governor Walter Hickel, Gazprom said.

Miller said in June that Gazprom had approached ConocoPhillips and BP on joining their Denali pipeline project, designed to deliver Alaskan gas to the continental United States. At the same time, Gazprom expressed interest in a rival pipeline project backed by Canada's TransCanada.

"The working conditions in Gazprom's traditional areas of production practically coincide with those in Alaska," the company said.

"Gazprom's experience will be in demand when similar projects are developed in Alaska."