The Moscow Times reports today that Gazprom, the largest company in Russia as well as the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, has offered assistance to Alaska in bringing natural gas to the lower 48 states. In spite of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s negative comments about Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in her interview with Charlie Gibson last month, eight Gazprom executives arrived in Anchorage on Monday for meetings to discuss joint pipeline ventures with Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive and Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources. With Gov. Palin’s ‘expertise’ in energy and supposed ‘concern’ for the energy crisis affecting the rest of the United States, the construction of natural gas pipelines could be a vital source of fuel. Seems strange that Gov. Palin hasn’t worked harder to develop important international relationships with various global natural gas companies. Or could there be some deal that Gov. Palin has been negotiating with the Russian giant Gazprom of which voters are unaware? Would such a pipeline partnership be mutually beneficial for both countries or an environmental disaster? The timing of Gazprom’s entire senior management team traveling to Alaska to discuss pipeline partnerships in the final days before such a contentious presidential election raises many questions.
Gazprom said Tuesday that it offered to help Alaska increase gas supplies to the U.S. mainland, even after Governor Sarah Palin warned against Russia’s resurgence while campaigning to become vice president.
The company sent eight senior executives to Anchorage for talks Monday with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources and ConocoPhillips chief executive Jim Mulva, state and company officials said.
The courtship of Alaska comes less than a month after Palin criticized Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for “rearing his head” over Russia’s maritime border with her home state.
CEO Alexei Miller was accompanied by deputies Valery Golubev and Alexander Medvedev, who oversees the country’s gas exports.
A working breakfast was held with Palin supporter and former Alaska Governor Walter Hickel, Gazprom said.
Miller said in June that Gazprom had approached ConocoPhillips and BP on joining their Denali pipeline project, designed to deliver Alaskan gas to the continental United States. At the same time, Gazprom expressed interest in a rival pipeline project backed by Canada’s TransCanada.
“The working conditions in Gazprom’s traditional areas of production practically coincide with those in Alaska,” the company said.
“Gazprom’s experience will be in demand when similar projects are developed in Alaska.”
Here are links to related articles on the Gazprom visit to Alaska and possible motivation for a visit at this particular time …