Gazprom gets loud

Gazprom Marketing & Trading‘s U.S.-based shop threw itself a big party at the House of Blues here Wednesday night to launch its new trading offices.
The Russian natural gas giant has been in Houston since 2006 but didn’t really start to build up a trading staff until the past year. They went public with the news of the Houston operations early this month, and have since said they are doing electricity trading here and hope to supply 10 percent of U.S. LNG imports in the next decade.

georgethorogood George Thorogood and the Destroyers take the stage at Gazprom’s coming-out party. Actually it could be a shot of just about anyone, given the quality of my camera phone.

Everything about the evening was high decibel: the hundreds that crowded the venue for free drinks and food, the three-minute video montage of the company’s worldwide operations with throbbing U2 soundtrack, and the featured entertainment George Thorogood and the Destroyers.
The crowd by pretty thick with energy trading-types who are both competitors and counterparties to Gazprom. Before the show John Hattenberger, president of Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA, thanked everyone for coming and thanked them “for letting us steal your employees.”
A bit more about Hattenberger: a University of Minnesota grad in chemical engineering, he spent 10 years with BP, some time with TransCanada, as well as El Paso Corp.’s LNG business (which became The Woodlands-based Excelerate Energy) and then Marathon Oil. Here’s a Reuter’s interview with Hattenberger over the recent deal with EDF. And here’s Energy Risk magazines’s recent piece on Gazprom Marketing.