Gazprom could come crashing into the UK energy market

18 April 2007
Russia fell out of favour with many European gas consumers last year after its energy war over pipelines with Ukraine froze the supply of energy to the continent in January 2006 and helped push up gas prices.

But it may now be set to restore its reputation, according to press reports which claim Gazprom, the world's largest producer of gas, may be preparing to sell gas direct to UK customers.

But Gazprom, which currently provides a quarter of Europe's wholesale gas to domestic suppliers in the UK, could have a competitive advantage over conventional suppliers such as npower and British Gas by cutting out the middle-man.

"There are no immediate plans to launch a direct UK consumer gas business but we cannot rule it out," Philip Dewhurst, a spokesman for Gazprom Marketing and Trading told the Telegraph.

But npower spokesperson Richard Frost responded that he was "confident that we will be able to respond to any new entrants".

Meanwhile, Gazprom has confirmed it is looking at joining with British energy companies to build gas-fired power stations in the UK, giving substance to its statement last year that it wanted to become a bigger player in the UK market.

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