Russia’s Gazprom Eyes British Energy Sector

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Russia’s gas export monopoly, Gazprom, is preparing to invest £1billion to become one of Britain’s biggest fuel suppliers, The Sunday Times has reported.

The state-run Gazprom is expected to lodge an offer this week for a network of 800 petrol stations and the Lindsey oil refinery at Killingholme, Lincolnshire, the paper stated.

It added that “the assets have been put up for sale by Total, the French oil group. It has hired JP Morgan, the investment bank, to sell its UK business, which employs 5,000 people. The business is expected to fetch more than £1 billion.”

However, Gazprom could not immediately be reached for comment.

The prospect of the Kremlin-controlled energy giant owning key parts of the UK oil infrastructure could worry the government, the paper wrote.

It indicated that, “when Gazprom was rumoured to be looking at a bid for Centrica, owner of British Gas, in 2006, ministers met to examine the possible consequences resulting from any takeover of a major UK energy supplier.”

Gazprom is expected to bid for the Total assets through its oil arm, Gazprom Neft.

Included in the Total sale is the 247km underground pipeline from Lindsey to the Buncefield fuel depot, which serves southeast England and Heathrow airport, the paper said.

It, however, noted that much of the site was destroyed in an explosion in 2005 but there were plans to rebuild it.