energy industry

Gazprom Marketing avoided insolvency in March but pressure mounting – sources

Reuters
Gazprom Marketing avoided insolvency in March but pressure mounting – sources

GAS. A 3D-printed natural gas pipeline is placed in front of a displayed Russian flag in this illustration taken February 8, 2022.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

If Gazprom Marketing & Trading collapses, it could plunge European gas markets into disarray

LONDON, United Kingdom – Russia-owned Gazprom Marketing & Trading (GM&T) narrowly averted insolvency in March by meeting a key monthly payment deadline, but concerns are mounting over whether it can remain afloat next month, industry sources told Reuters.

Its collapse could plunge European gas markets into disarray.

GM&T buys gas on wholesale energy markets and its British unit alone supplies fuel to more than 100,000 sites across Britain, France, and the Netherlands.

The company, majority-owned by the Russian state, said it has not faced sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but several energy companies in Europe – including Britain’s Centrica, Germany’s E.ON, and Norway’s Statkraft – have all stopped trading with GM&T.

Every month on the 20th, the company has to settle its trading position with the parties who sell it natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and power or those who buy those contracts from GM&T.

“This month they have just paid everything and have been paid, next deadline is April 20 and the risks will be much bigger,” one trading source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

The British unit of GM&T, which trades as Gazprom Energy, supplies 21% of the country’s industrial and commercial customers including the National Health Service, hospitality sites, and manufacturers that operate furnaces 24/7.

Were it to fail, a special administrator would be appointed to operate the company while alternative solutions, such as a buyer or management buyout, are sought.

Another European gas trader, who also asked not to be named, said there was a lot of uncertainty around GM&T’s upcoming obligations.

“I don’t expect them to be sustainable for more than a few weeks. They are facing a slow death, everyone thinks they’re doomed,” he said.

Gazprom Energy said in a statement that its parent company, GM&T, sourced gas from wholesale energy markets and did not depend on gas supplied from Russia. “Neither do we have gas contracts with Russia,” it said.

GM&T has not replied to a Reuters request for comment.

“We are in constant contact with the relevant regulators and are unaware of any decision taken to place Gazprom Energy under government control,” Gazprom Energy said.

The British government has said the Gazprom business continues to trade in the UK, adding that “customers should exercise their own commercial judgment with regards to energy supply contracts they have in place at the moment.” – Rappler.com

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