Gazprom counts on big growth in Chinese gas demand

A man fills the tank of a car at a fuel station of Gazprom Neft oil company in Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2016
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Gazprom counts on big growth in Chinese gas demand

MOSCOW: Russia’s top gas producer Gazprom expects China’s gas consumption to more than double, deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said, suggesting the company is still counting on robust growth in demand in China even as the economy slows.
As part of Russia’s strategic shift eastwards prompted by rows with the West, Gazprom will supply China with gas via the Power of Siberia pipeline to be built in eastern Russia, raising volumes gradually to make China one of the biggest customers for Russian gas.
Gazprom’s officials said on Tuesday they still aimed to start those supplies in 2019.
China has pledged to reduce its coal dependence, a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and aims to raise gas consumption to 360 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 193.2 bcm in 2015.
Sources close to Gazprom told Reuters in January that Russia is likely to scale back the volume of gas it plans to ship to China later this decade, due to the dive in global energy prices and uncertainty hanging over the Chinese economy.
Medvedev, however, sounded more optimistic.
“Gas consumption (in China) will double and rise further,” said Medvedev, without giving a timeframe.
China expects its domestic output of gas to reach only 190 bcm by 2020, meaning it will need to boost imports or find alternative sources.


No Canadians: Air France unions want French CEO

Updated 16 August 2018
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No Canadians: Air France unions want French CEO

PARIS: Trade unions at Air France called Thursday for the company to name a French chief executive amid reports that the board is set to nominate Canadian Ben Smith at the helm of the group.
Nine out of ten unions issued a joint statement saying it was “inconceivable that the Air France company, French since 1933, falls into the hands of a foreign executive whose candidacy is being promoted by a competitor.”
The statement appeared to be referring to Delta Airlines, the US airline which owns 8.8 percent of the capital of Air France-KLM, the parent group formed out of the merger of Air France and KLM of the Netherlands in 2004.
The union statement, which said the new boss needed “intimate knowledge ... of the French social model,” said that the board was expected to hold a teleconference on Thursday to discuss the nomination.
The Franco-Dutch airline has been searching for a new boss since Jean-Marc Janaillac resigned in May, having gambled his job on getting Air France staff to accept a new pay deal after months of strikes.
Smith is Air Canada’s chief operating officer who led labor negotiations with pilots’ and flight attendants’ unions ahead of the launch of low-cost operator Air Canada Rouge.
Such experience might come in useful at Air France-KLM, which has suffered months of disruptive and costly strikes by French staff demanding better salaries.
He was tipped to emerge as the new boss of the airline by France’s leftwing Liberation newspaper on Wednesday.
Air France shares have plunged more than 35 percent since the start of the year, although they have stabilized since Janaillac’s departure.
The group this month estimated the cost of the 15 days of French strikes between February and June at €335 million ($391 million).