Gazprom buys access to Czech consumers

Gazprom will sell gas and electricity directly to Czech consumers
Gazprom has acquired a 51% in Czech RSP Energy, which supplies electricity and natural gas to households and small consumers in the Czech Republic.

Vemex s.r.o., a company in the Gazprom group bought a majority stake in the Czech gas and electricity supplier, with the other 49% of the Company belonging to private individuals according to a Friday Kommersant report, with Vemex Managing Director Vasily Dinkov saying it marks the first time a Gazprom company is retailing energy directly to Czech consumers.

"This is the first time a Gazprom group company will be selling natural gas and electricity to the population of the Czech  Republic."

Analysts say the news marks another step in Gazprom’s reach into European energy markets, following on from deals in Bulgaria, Austria, France, Italy and Great Britain. But Vitaly Krukov from IFD Kapital told Kommersant, the deal itself isn’t that big with FY 2010 RSP Energy revenues at about $24 million, and planned 2011 gas sales at 40 million cubic metres, or just 0.46% of the total gas supplies of Gazprom to Czech Republic, and 450 thousand megawatt/hour of electricity, which is about 0.5% of energy consumption in Czech Republic.

Gazprom gas exports to Europe remain minor, accounting just for 3% of total exports, or 4.7 billion cubic metres, in 2010, and this move is generally positive for Gazprom, as it’s long been seeking to get direct access to European consumers, says Andrey Polishuyk from BCS.  Talking to Kommersant he recalled the situation when Gazprom’s intention to buy British energy company Centrica, became politically controversial and was halted.