Gazprom warns Europe of gas shortage without increased Russian imports

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov attends a session during the Week of Russian Business in Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Gazprom warns Europe of gas shortage without increased Russian imports

LONDON: Europe will soon experience a gas shortage and price spike if it tries to rely on US gas imports to cover rising demand instead of increasing purchases from Russia, Kremlin energy giant Gazprom told Reuters.
The Trump administration has said it intends to level the playing field in energy markets by offering US gas to Europe and Asia, citing a need to reduce what it calls the market-distorting power of actors such as Russia and OPEC.
Russian gas supplies to Europe have become increasingly politicized since Moscow cut supplies to Ukraine in the last decade amid pricing disputes and after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The West has accused Russia of using gas as a political weapon. Moscow has responded by blaming the West for blocking its new pipeline projects for political rather than economic reasons.
The warning about a possible supply crunch comes as Gazprom prepares to start large-scale deliveries to China in a move reminiscent of Russia’s oil strategy, under which Moscow became a major supplier to Beijing at the expense of Europe.
Gazprom’s deputy head Alexander Medvedev said the company would have enough supplies for both Europe and Asia but that it was time for Europe to decide from where it should source gas.
“Europe completely miscalculated when they assumed that they won’t need much additional gas and if they need some it can be supplied from outside Russia,” Medvedev, who looks after exports for the world’s top gas producer and exporter, said.
Gazprom’s exports jumped 8 percent last year to an all-time high of 194 billion cubic meters on higher demand and lower prices, giving it a record share in Europe of 35 percent.
Medvedev said the share could rise above 40 percent over time as Europe’s gas demand rises, production in the Netherlands and Britain falls and Norway’s output growth should slow after 2025. US supplies will remain modest, expensive and would mainly go to Asia.
“Many serious analysts will come up with a model for you showing that Europe will soon face a major gas crunch and, what is worse — a steep rise in prices,” Medvedev said.
“Regarding calls about the need to cut reliance on Russian gas, should we in Russia be speaking about an over-reliance on money from one continent? Like from the dollar or euro? What it all means in fact is that we are mutually dependent.”
Gazprom will begin pipeline supplies to China next year. The company wants to take at least a one-tenth market share there by 2025, when it builds another major route.
“We can supply as much gas as needed to Europe even though we are entering a new market in China. But Europe needs to decide now. They need to start thinking right now about who will cover additional demand after 2025. Unfortunately there is no energy dialogue between Russia and the EU,” Medvedev said.


Dubai’s Emirates NBD acquires Turkish lender Denizbank for $3.2 billion

Updated 49 min 59 sec ago
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Dubai’s Emirates NBD acquires Turkish lender Denizbank for $3.2 billion

  • The deal is the biggest ever acquisition by Emirates NBD
  • The transaction is expected to be accretive to shareholders in the first year, said Emirates NBD Chief Executive Officer Shayne Nelson

MOSCOW/DUBAI: Dubai’s biggest lender Emirates NBD has agreed to buy Turkey’s Denizbank from Russia’s state-owned Sberbank for $3.2 billion to help establish itself as a leading bank in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
Denizbank is the fifth-largest private bank in Turkey and the biggest asset held by Sberbank outside Russia. The sale is part of a strategy by Russia’s top lender to divest overseas businesses to focus on its domestic market.
The deal is the biggest ever acquisition by Emirates NBD, which had said in January it was in talks to buy the Russian lender’s stake in Denizbank.
The transaction comes against a backdrop of Turkey’s strained relations with Gulf states since Ankara stood by Qatar after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and others accused Doha of supporting terrorism, a charge it denies.
The deal will help Emirates NBD diversify its business and establish itself as a leading bank in the region, the company’s vice chairman, Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, said in a statement.
Denizbank has assets of 169.4 billion lira ($37.25 billion) and operates 751 branches, including 43 outside Turkey, while Emirates NBD has banks in the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and offices in China and Indonesia.
“By acquiring Deniz, Emirates NDB can diversify its credit risk as it has concentrated exposure to Dubai government,” said Shabbir Malik, a banking analyst at EFG Hermes in Dubai.
“Turkey is an important trading partner for the UAE, and Emirates NBD can serve UAE customers which have trade ties with Turkey. That said, the banking system is crowded and there is strong market share concentration in the top seven banks.”
Reuters reported in March that Denizbank’s chief executive Hakan Ates met with President Tayyip Erdogan and other senior officials in Ankara to try to convince them the deal would be positive for Turkey.
One source said at the time there was an acknowledgement in Ankara that Turkey’s tensions were with Abu Dhabi, not Dubai — meaning the UAE’s policy makers, not the region’s main commercial and financial hub.
The transaction is expected to be accretive to shareholders in the first year, said Emirates NBD Chief Executive Officer Shayne Nelson.
“Earlier there was mass media speculation that the deal would be concluded at a price of over $5 billion,” Russia’s Aton brokerage said in a research note.
“The deal may limit Sberbank’s ability to materially increase dividends for 2018, but will still improve its capital ratios and ROE (Return on Equity). Nonetheless, we expect the stock to be under pressure today.”
Denizbank currently holds subordinated loans issued to it by Sberbank with a value of $1.2 billion, the Russian bank said in a reply to Reuters questions.
Besides its Turkish business, Sberbank has a network of eight subsidiary banks in central and eastern Europe. It has signaled it is interested in finding a buyer for some of those assets if it can get the right deal.
The closing of the deal is subject to regulatory approvals in Turkey, Russia, the UAE and other relevant jurisdictions, where Denizbank operates.