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Spanish intelligence service suspects Gazprom: report

MADRID – The state-run Russian gas giant Gazprom aims to "monopolise" the supply of energy to Europe, the Spanish intelligence service CNI has concluded, the newspaper Publico reported Thursday.

The agency says Gazprom is negotiating with producers such as Iran, Algeria, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea as part of a campaign to "take control of energy sources beyond Russia’s borders" and to "become the sole supplier of gas to Europe," according to the paper.

It said the plan was behind "major energy cooperation agreements" between Russia and certain Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil.

The CNI maintains that Gazprom wants to control a pipeline project linking Nigeria to Europe, according to Publico.

At the moment the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline project is to connect Nigeria to Europe via Niger and Algeria.

Gazprom, the world’s largest gas producer, supplies a quarter of all gas consumed in the 27-nation European Union, with some countries in central and eastern Europe entirely dependent on the company.

A commercial dispute with Ukraine, a key transit country, last January interrupted supplies to European markets during a period of bitter cold weather.

While most of Spain’s gas needs are met by deliveries from North Africa, Gazprom is nonetheless a sore subject here.

In November the company’s reported interest in acquiring a stake in the Spanish oil group Repsol stirred considerable opposition.

Gazprom in March signed an agreement with Spanish energy company Gas Natural that will enable it to buy electricity generating stations in Europe.

AFP / Expatica