MOSCOW (AP) — Russian natural gas monopoly OAO Gazprom and U.S. chemical giant Dow Chemical Co. signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines potential cooperation on projects in Russia and Germany, the companies said Tuesday.
State-controlled Gazprom said the companies will consider creating a joint venture based on Dow's new petrochemical facilities in Germany and cooperating in refining gas from Russia's Yamalo-Nemets autonomous district, and study other possibilities.
Dow chairman and chief executive officer Andrew N. Liveris was in Moscow to sign the agreement Monday, spokesman Chris Huntley confirmed. Gazprom said its chief, Alexei Miller, also signed the memorandum, which will create a working group to determine whether a joint venture is economically viable.
Gazprom has used offers of participation in projects in resource-rich Russia to secure deals that expand its presence in gas refining and distribution in Europe. Midland, Mich.-based Dow will look at possibly taking Russian natural gas and petroleum and converting them into fuel and raw materials for plastics, Huntley said.
''It's an important step as we work toward joint collaboration with Gazprom in this important growth region,'' he said.
Gazprom's actions have sparked concern in Europe about a reliance on Russia, which supplies up to 40 percent of the European Union's natural gas.