ECONOMY

Russian gas giant eyes assets in Greece, Bulgaria, Moldova

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian gas giant Gazprom is looking to acquire electricity assets in Greece, Bulgaria and Moldova, business daily Vedomosti reported yesterday, citing a senior official at Gazprom subsidiary Gazpromenergo. Gazprom is looking to acquire electricity assets in Bulgaria and Greece through local joint ventures Overgas and Prometheus Gas, respectively, said Yury Lukanin, head of foreign projects at Gazpromenergo, Gazprom’s electricity subsidiary, Vedomosti reported. Gazprom’s interest in these countries has grown due to the South European gas pipeline project, which will cross both countries, Lukanin said. Moldova has offered Gazprom interests in three of its electricity assets as part of efforts to clear some $1.4 billion (-1 billion) of debt to the company, he said. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said Tuesday that he discussed several investment projects involving Gazprom and other Russian companies with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a summit of ex-Soviet states in Minsk, the Interfax news agency reported. Putin told journalists after the meeting that he expected energy negotiations with Moldova to end successfully in the «nearest future,» Interfax reported. «Relations will be built on a market basis, but within bounds that will satisfy both sides,» he said. In recent years Gazprom has stepped up efforts to develop its holdings in Russia’s electricity sector, a large consumer of its gas. It has also struck several deals to gain direct access to lucrative end-users in the European Union.