Russian energy giant Gazprom is expected to announce later today that it has bought UK supply company Natural Gas Shipping Services (NGSS) - and in the meantime it has been talking about how it has specifically targeted BP as a possible partner for "asset swaps".
The company's chairman, Dmitry Medvedev, says that his company is looking into swapping assets and forming joint ventures with foreign partners, so that it can supply its domestic Russian market in full.
He says that the world's largest gas supplier is specifically looking at BP, Germany's Eon and BASF.
Gazprom already owns Pennine Natural Gas company - and NGSS is the supply arm of this firm. Since buying Pennine, it has seen its number of UK customers rise by 150 per cent to reach 2,000 businesses - with BHS and Sunderland Football Club included in this total.
The Russian parliament yesterday voted to allow Gazprom to have its own private army. The move has sparked fears in Russia and its bordering countries that the company is becoming too powerful. It has 430,000 employees, owns Russia's third-largest bank, controls various media outlets and enjoys close links with the Kremlin.
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