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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spain Bars Gazprom Imports

The Spanish government is taking steps to protect its internal gas market from incursions by gas producer giants like Gazprom or Algeria's Sonatrach, a source at Spain's Industry Ministry said Thursday.

The ruling Socialist party has tacked an amendment on to a gas law going through the parliament that would deny access to Spanish gas customers for non-European Union companies that do not allow foreign firms the same access to their home markets.

That would effectively bar the big state-owned monopolies in Russia and Algeria from setting up direct gas sale businesses within Spain.

The Industry Ministry, which is behind the move, has sent two new energy laws to the parliament, one for electricity and one for gas.

However, Gazprom may start selling natural gas directly to consumers in Italy beginning in April, Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told weekly magazine L'Espresso.

"In a test phase we will start with 100 million cubic meters in April, which will gradually increase," Medvedev told the Italian weekly. "The objective is the fixed ceiling of 3.5 billion cubic meters, but for that you need time."

Medvedev said Gazprom had not chosen a partner in Italy to sell the gas, while Enel and Edison were among the possibilities, L'Espresso reported.

Gazprom aimed to secure 10 percent of direct sales in Italy, the weekly said.

(Reuters, Bloomberg)