India's petroleum minister, Russia's Gazprom discuss LNG supplies to GAIL

India's minister of petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan and the chief executive of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, on Thursday discussed liquefied natural gas supplies to Indian gas utility GAIL, Gazprom said in a statement.

The supplies were discussed in the context of an existing contract between Gazprom and GAIL, Gazprom said in the statement.

Indian energy companies are increasingly looking to Russia for investments and supplies of oil and gas as India's energy demand swells.

Pradhan is in Russia on 16 and 17 June to participate in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which will discuss pressing issues facing Russia and the world, an official statement said.

"During his visit to St Petersburg, Pradhan will be meeting his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak and CEOs of (Russian firms) Rosneft, Gazprom, Gazpromneft, Lukoil and Novatek," it said.

He will also participate in a panel discussion on the subject 'New Global Petroleum Market Realities'.

"The visit will provide an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations particularly in the field of hydrocarbon sector between India and Russia," the statement said.

"Both the countries enjoy a special privileged strategic partnership and cooperation in the field of hydrocarbon sector, which is one of the key areas of this time tested partnership," it added.

During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Moscow in December last year, both countries had agreed to further enhance cooperation in the oil and gas sector.

Subsequently, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Rosneft completed all formalities for acquisition of 15 per cent stake by OVL in Vankorneft, which is a subsidiary of Rosneft. The deal is another effort in augmenting oil security for the country.

Pradhan is accompanied by senior officials from his ministry and executives of public sector oil and gas companies.

Russian state-backed Gazprom, Europe's largest supplier of gas, was responsible for almost a third of European gas demand last year, and, according to Miller, the gas giant will export even more to European buyers in 2016 as North Sea production dwindles.

Europe's reliance on Russian gas to hit record highs this year, the Gazprom chief said, adding that Europe will rely on Russia for record imports of natural gas this year as domestic production plunges following the crash in oil and gas prices.

Gazprom's largest European customers are in Germany and the Netherlands, countries closely connected to the UK gas grid through two major pipelines.