Gazprom’s European Strategy

Interesting piece in the Guardian yesterday about Gazprom’s acquisition pattern in European energy companies as illustrative of their strategy take on bigger holdings, launch takeovers, and secure long-term supply agreements. Some excerpts:

Executives at British utilities say Gazprom is considering buying minority shareholdings in UK groups Centrica and National Grid in a move designed to thwart any attempt by the London-based companies to ally with competing groups. Centrica, for instance, has been cited as a possible merger partner for Gaz de France. … Russian officials have told executives at British utilities that after President Vladimir Putin steps down, they are hopeful that a new government would be willing to sell down its 51 per cent holding in Gazprom. This would make an alliance or merger with Centrica or National Grid more palatable to politicians, who have been rattled by the willingness of the Russians to use Gazprom as an arm of the state, threatening to cut off supplies to former Soviet republics which refuse to accept steep price rises.