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Gazprom May Buy U.S. Shale Gas Firm

Gazprom is examining the possibility of buying a U.S. shale-gas company as it seeks expertise in developing unconventional fuels, the company said Wednesday.

“We are not against shale gas,” deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said in Warsaw. “Shale gas opens possibilities of expanding the usage of gas in energy generation and fuel for vehicles.”

The United States is increasing output of gas locked in shale rock, potentially reducing demand for imports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

Gazprom plans to gain as much as 10 percent of the U.S. market for the fuel by 2020, Medvedev said previously. The producer, which exports most of its gas to European markets, had sought to expand in North America with LNG.

Lower demand and gas prices pushed Gazprom and its partners, Total and Statoil, to delay the Shtokman LNG project in the Arctic.

Unconventional fuels had been too complex to develop until new technologies made extraction feasible. Drillers inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to bust open shale and unlock gas deposits.

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