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Chevron, Gazprom Team Up for Study

September 23, 2004|From Bloomberg News

ChevronTexaco Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, and Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, announced a six-month agreement to study joint oil and gas projects in the United States and Russia.

The study will assess the feasibility of building a gas-liquefaction plant in Russia as well as Gazprom's possible involvement in a North American import terminal for the liquefied fuel, the companies said in a joint statement Wednesday.

Gazprom, which holds 25% of known global reserves of natural gas, said last week that it would invite San Ramon, Calif.-based ChevronTexaco to help tap the Shtokman gas field in the Arctic.

ChevronTexaco and U.S. rivals ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Corp. are expanding into Russia and Central Asia to make up for declining output in other regions.

Gazprom, 38% of which is owned by the Russian government, follows Lukoil in seeking a foothold in the United States, the world's largest market for gasoline and natural gas. Lukoil, Russia's largest petroleum firm, has acquired 1,300 filling stations in the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

"For Gazprom, access to the American gas market is strategically important," the company's chief executive, Alexei Miller, said. "In addition, we are keen to bring advanced LNG production and transportation technologies to Russia."

ChevronTexaco has existing interests in the Russian energy sector, primarily through a 15% stake in the $2.6-billion Caspian Pipeline Consortium.

Shares of ChevronTexaco fell 38 cents Wednesday to $53.14 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have gained 23% this year and reached a record close Tuesday.

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