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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

French Market Opens Up to Gazprom

ReutersGaz de France's Cirelli and Gazprom's Miller exchanging smiles after signing a symbolic cubic meter of gas Tuesday.
State gas monopoly Gazprom signed a deal Tuesday worth about $85 billion with French state-owned gas utility Gaz de France envisaging natural gas supplies for 24 years and granting Gazprom access to France's retail gas market.

Under the terms of the contract, which will run until 2030, Gazprom will supply 12 billion cubic meters per year of gas to GdF.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller hailed the agreement as "another step in the development of a reliable long-term partnership between Russia and France," said to the company's statement.

The deals also allow Gazprom to sell 1.5 bcm per year directly to French customers starting October 2007, the second step toward realizing Gazprom's ambition of gaining access to the end users of Europe, following a landmark deal with Italy's Eni in November.

"It's a bright example of a successful implementation of Gazprom's strategy to get access to end consumers in Europe and increase efficiency of Russia's natural gas exports," Miller said.

Under another deal, GdF will also take up to 2.5 bcm of gas annually from Gazprom's Nord Stream pipeline being built by Gazprom and Germany's E.On and BASF and due on stream in 2010.

"The development of commercial cooperation with Gazprom serves to strengthen the security of gas supplies of consumers in France and Europe for the long term," said GDF Chairman and CEO Jean-Francois Cirelli.

Russia is France's No. 2 gas supplier after Norway, with about one-quarter of GdF's long-term supply deals in 2005. Russia now also meets one-quarter of the EU's total gas demand.

(AP, Reuters)