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Gazprom to sell LNG in the U.S. this year

By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch

Last update: 3:33 p.m. EDT April 8, 2009
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Gazprom on Wednesday said it gained its first major entry into the U.S. natural gas market through a pact with Royal Dutch Shell as the energy giant moves to expand its reach into the country’s vast storage and transport infrastructure.
Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas producer, will ship liquid natural gas (LNG) from its Sakhalin-2 project in Russia’s Far East to Sempra Energy’s Energia Costa Azul import terminal in Baja California, which is under a long-term assignment from Shell.
Gas will then be transported to Southern California via the Gasoducto Baja Norte and North Baja Pipeline and sold by Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA, Inc., headquartered in Houston.
The agreement was one of several announced today in Moscow by Alexey Miller, the CEO of OAO Gazprom, and Jeroen van der Veer, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell.
“This deal will enable Gazprom to begin shipment of LNG supplies from Sakhalin II to the United States, the world’s largest gas market, and other markets of the Pacific Basin, starting from this year,” Gazprom’s Miller said in a statement.
The Gazprom deal comes as excess LNG continues to find its way to the U.S., which contains sizeable storage capacity for the fuel.
While storage levels for natural gas in the U.S. and around the world remain high, Miller said Gazprom has seen “certain signs of demand growth” in the past few weeks. 
Steve Gelsi is a reporter for MarketWatch in New York.
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