French Total wants to climb into the export pipe of Gazprom

France suggested that the Kremlin liberalize its gas exports.
The head of French Total Patrick Puyanne asked Vladimir Putin to undertake a "bold reform" and liberalize gas exports from Russia through pipelines, the monopoly now owned by Gazprom. Total would like to export to Europe the gas of its joint venture with NOVATEK. Mr. Putin suggested Total to do this through Gazprom export and noted that the French could enter the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

Total CEO Patrick Puyanne, speaking on May 25 at the panel session of SPIEF-2018, suggested that Vladimir Putin allow the joint company Total and NOVATEK to export gas to Europe via gas pipelines. Now, Gazprom owns a monopoly on the export of gas from the Russian Federation through the pipeline, and some other companies (including the Yamal LNG project of NOVATEK and Total) can also supply liquefied gas abroad. Mr. Puyanne noted that the permit could facilitate the implementation of gas pipeline projects, which are now being discussed, referring to "Nord Stream-2". "Can we hope that someday in the future you will allow us, our joint venture NOVATEK and Total through gas pipelines to sell this gas to our customers in Europe?" He asked. The joint venture, of which the Frenchman spoke, is "Terneftegaz", which is developing the thermokarst deposit in Yamal.

Vladimir Putin replied that the companies already have the opportunity to export pipeline gas through Gazprom Export. In practice, this can be considered a rather negative response to the request of Monsieur Puyanne.

Gazprom can act as an agent for selling foreign gas for export, in which case the law is not violated, but in practice the monopoly is not interested in such transactions. However, the president added that the liberalization of gas exports can be discussed, "and sooner or later it will be done in an absolutely liberal regime." He also invited Total to enter the Nord Stream-2 project, becoming its sixth European participant.