GAZPROM EYES TO ASIA
Gazprom is planning a secondary stock market listing in Singapore this year as demand grows for supplies to feed Asia's energy-hungry economies, attracting an increasing number of companies to build a presence in the region's fastest growing energy hub.
A listing in Singapore would be symbolic of the Russian oil and gas group's tilt to Asia, driven by rising gas demand there and increasingly tense relations with Europe, which accounts for two-thirds of the Russian state-controlled company's revenues from gas sales.
"We want to have another platform on which our shares are traded," Gazprom said. "We are now working on the question of obtaining a listing in Singapore."
Lawrence Wong, head of listings at SGX, the Singapore exchange, declined to comment on whether Gazprom was in talks with the exchange, saying only: "We constantly receive interest from international companies to list on SGX given our positioning as the gateway to the region."
Gazprom's move, which builds on an existing listing in London, would be a boost to Singapore's ambition to establish itself as a trading and pricing hub for LNG in Asia. The region already accounts for the bulk of demand for the fuel globally.
More than 20 companies have LNG trading desks in the city state including Gazprom, whose LNG trading subsidiary, Gazprom Marketing & Trading, has operated there since 2009.
After a decade of negotiations, Gazprom is close to finalising a big deal with CNPC for long-term gas supplies to China.
The company has said it hopes for the deal to be signed next week when Russian president Vladimir Putin visits China – although a final agreement on price has not yet been reached. On Thursday Gazprom said negotiations with China were "at their final stage".
BCS Financial, a Russian broker, said in a note to clients that a move to Singapore would be a "technical listing" but "another component in the pivot to Asia".
Other LNG companies have recently been boosting their presence in Singapore, which in February opened a vast LNG terminal that the government said would support "the full spectrum of LNG activities in Asia, including marketing, trading and procurement".
BG Group last month moved its global headquarters for LNG and oil marketing business to Singapore from its head office in Britain, "reflecting the long term importance of Asian energy markets".
Gazprom's GM&T unit in March signed an agreement with the gas division of PetroVietnam, Vietnam's state-owned energy company, to supply LNG to the country.
Frederic Barnaud, executive director of global LNG at GM&T, said this would "form a good basis for further expansion of our commercial portfolio in Southeast Asia and progresses our ambition to be the leading LNG marketer in Asia".
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