Gazprom Seeks U.S. Stamp of Approval as Sanctions Warnings Rise

(Bloomberg) by Alan Katz and Silla Brush – OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural gas exporter, is seeking a new two-year U.S. Energy Department authorization to move as much $2 billion in natural gas among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA Inc., a Houston-based unit of the Russian energy giant, applied to the Energy Department for the approval on Feb. 10, according to the agency’s website. At the same time, officials in Washington and the European Union are warning that they might impose additional sanctions on Russian companies because of the country’s truce violations in Ukraine. Gazprom has received repeated approvals for similar requests as far back as 2006, but relations between the U.S. and Russia have deteriorated since 2013, when the unit received its most recent authorization.  “It would be highly anomalous for the administration to approve this, given what’s going on in Ukraine,” said Gary Hufbauer, a sanctions specialist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. The U.S. and EU have issued multiple rounds of economic sanctions in an effort, so far unsuccessful, to get Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop supporting separatist rebels in Ukraine. The U.S. has barred access to … continue reading

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